University of California, San Diego


April 27, 2005


SUBJECT:    The Naming of Sixth College

Over the last several months, Sixth College and the campus have been considering potential names for the college. Richard C. Atkinson, UCSD’s former Chancellor, University of California’s former President and one of higher education’s most visionary leaders, emerged as the most compelling choice.

Dr. Atkinson was the clear consensus leader for obvious reasons: His commitment to education embodies Sixth College’s educational goals and theme of the integration of Culture, Art and Technology; his early research in the field of memory placed him in the vanguard of the digital revolution; his national leadership in the educational uses of information technology enhanced the promise of innovative teaching; and his contributions to the arts on our campus resulted in strong support for the Stuart Collection and our three world-class departments of Music, Theatre and Dance, and the Visual Arts.

I am deeply disappointed, therefore, to inform you that Dr. Atkinson has withdrawn his name from further consideration. Even if he does not reconsider his decision, and I sincerely hope that he will, I am determined to find an appropriate venue on our campus to honor his distinguished career. Yet, whatever venue we identify, it will not begin to approximate or commemorate his true and enduring impact on this campus.

The campus community is extremely proud of Dr. Atkinson, his accomplishments and his unwavering commitment to the young people of this country who seek a better life through higher education. He fought hard and broke new ground as Chancellor. He was tireless in promoting diversity within our campus staff, faculty and students. He supported the establishment of the Cross Cultural Center at UCSD while working to avoid the pitfalls that had befallen similar centers at other campuses.

As UC President, he was a strong supporter of extending domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples; he pressed aggressively in support of outreach programs to expand the number of students from underserved communities who could qualify for UC; and he challenged both the use and the unfair design of the SAT as a tool in admissions, thus fighting to make the admissions process more fair.

There is much to be disappointed about with his decision to withdraw. Therefore, I felt it was important to let you know of this new development. As you can imagine, this nomination meant a great deal to me. I am heartened, however, that Dr. Atkinson remains steadfast in his support for UCSD, and I am truly grateful for his continued commitment.

Marye Anne Fox