Farewell, Chancellor Timothy P. White

Faculty, staff and students celebrate the outgoing chancellor's legacy

Chancellor Timothy P. White and his wife Karen

The news of Chancellor Timothy P. White’s departure — to serve as the chancellor of the California State University system — was bittersweet for many at UCR. The work of Chancellor White and his wife, Karen White, has so benefited the university and its surrounding communities that despite the honor of having the next leader of the largest public, higher-education system in the country come from UCR, it will be hard to imagine the campus without the Whites.

White, who joined UCR in March 2009, proved his unusual leadership style when he willingly went on national TV to showcase the university in the reality show “Undercover Boss.” He established many traditions that connected with the students, such as handing out cookies during finals week and delivering weekly missives to the campus that were by turn humorous and touching.

During White’s tenure, UCR produced more than 18,000 graduates, completed a campuswide strategic plan, launched the new School of Medicine, established the new School of Public Policy, opened the downtown Culver Center of the Arts, attracted hundreds of new human resources jobs to the Inland Empire by housing UCPath, revitalized Highlander Athletics, contributed more than $1 billion per year in economic benefits to the state of California, laid the groundwork for a major comprehensive campaign, and successfully raised its national and international profile while navigating exceptionally challenging economic times.

As a tireless volunteer and partner to campus staff, Karen White led the establishment of Operation Education, an educational resource for injured military veterans, as well as helping to create the Riverside Citrus Classic cycling event along with her fellow Leadership Riverside volunteers.

Today, Dec. 12, the UCR Academic Senate, UCR Staff Assembly, Graduate Student Association of UCR and the Associated Students of UCR will host a farewell reception at the HUB, Room 302, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Open to faculty, staff and students, the event will be held to thank the Whites for their leadership. The chancellor’s remarks will be broadcast online for those who cannot make it to the event on emp.ucr.edu/goodbye.

Well-wishers have already begun writing farewell messages on the chancellor’s farewell website (farewell.ucr.edu). Students, faculty and staff members have written about their experiences with the Whites — many of which have been life-changing and inspiring.

Priscila Chavez Lara, a music major who graduated last summer, wrote that after she received a scholarship and was recognized by the Citizens University Committee with the chancellor, White wrote a Friday Letter that changed her life. “[The letter] fell into good hands, and now, I am pleased to inform you that I have been accepted to a master’s degree program emphasizing orchestra conducting.”

Connie Librenjak, executive director of Keep Riverside Clean, said she was delighted to learn that White would lead the California State University system knowing he would lead with compassion, intellect and integrity, “like you did for all of us in the city of Riverside.”

Chuck Rowley, associate vice chancellor for finance and business administration and computing and communications, articulated what many of UCR’s staff felt about the Whites. “[You leave the campus] believing in the promise of UCR, and with tangible successes ranging from our strategic plan, to the schools of medicine  and public policy, to a leadership team poised to grow our research mission while retaining our collective commitment to instructional excellence and student success. Thank you so much.”

Recognizing the contributions made to the UCR campus by the Whites, a special fund named the Tim and Karen White Endowed Scholarship Fund has been created to support scholarships for students at www.ucr.edu/giving.

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