Current Georgia College and State University President Dorothy Leland has been recommended as the future chancellor of the University of California Merced, UC President Mark G. Yudof announced Tuesday.
From roots in the rural Southern California town of Fillmore, Leland has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” and one of four Georgia “Power Women” by Georgia Trend magazine.
“Dorothy Leland is a great fit for UC Merced at this pivotal stage of its development,” Yudof said. “She's a proven leader who knows how to bring vision to a mission, and how to build support from different people to get things done.”
Leland has overseen significant growth at Georgia College during her seven-year tenure, leading the college to numerous academic advancements. Over the past five years, the college experienced a 54 percent increase in federal funding for research and sponsored projects and entered the surrounding community with economic development and educational initiatives. This year, the college was cited by U.S. News and World Report as having a “strong commitment to teaching,” and was named to Kiplinger’s Top 100 Public Colleges.
“I am energized by the opportunity to serve the first American research university created in the 21st century, to build on all that has been accomplished at UC Merced,” Leland said. “I deeply appreciate President Yudof's recommendation of my candidacy. I love California, and I love higher education. I look forward to working with the UC Merced faculty and staff, the students, their families and all of those who will make it possible for the university to grow and thrive — members of the Merced community, public servants, alumni and business people among them.”
A Purdue University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in American studies, and a doctorate in Philosophy, Leland has taught at California State University, Northridge, CSU Chico and UC Santa Cruz. She also served as co-director of Purdue’s doctoral program in Philosophy and Literature, and won awards in teaching through her work as associate professor of philosophy. She later journeyed to Florida Atlantic University, where she served as professor of philosophy, chief planning officer, associate provost, vice president and chief administrator of the university’s Boca Raton campus.
Leland has served as a past president of the Southern University Conference, and serves on the boards of the Council of Higher Education Accreditation and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She also received the 2005 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation for her adaptive re-use and rehabilitation plan for Georgia College historic buildings.
If the Board of Regents approves Leland’s appointment at their meeting this week, she would take office July 1.
Leland would succeed Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang, who announced in September 2010 that he plans to step down as chancellor on June 30 to return to teaching and research as a UC faculty member. Kang served since March 1, 2007. He was the university’s second chancellor.
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