University of California, San Diego


October 13, 2006


SUBJECT:    Impending Retirement of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

After more than 40 years of service to the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Joseph W. Watson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, has announced his plans to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year. Dr. Watson is a UCSD institution whose contributions to this university are immeasurable and, although I am saddened that he has chosen to step down from his role as Vice Chancellor, I understand and appreciate his desire to devote more time to his family.

In his 40 years at UCSD, Dr. Watson has played an integral role in the overall management and metamorphosis of our campus. His eleven-year service as the founding Provost of Third College, now Thurgood Marshall College, is indicative of Joe's exemplary leadership and his extraordinary commitment to students. He and I share a passion for higher education, and I am deeply grateful for his thoughtfulness and diligence as an administrative leader on campus. His institutional memory has been invaluable to me and his dedication to educating young people as tomorrow's leaders is evident in decisions he has made throughout his career.

Dr. Watson's accomplishments are innumerable, but I will endeavor to enumerate a few that are illustrative of his leadership: establishing TritonLink as the portal for student services; developing Career Services, the Student and Price Centers, RIMAC, and many other student and recreation facilities; moving from Division III to Division II in athletics; working with the International Center to introduce the Opportunity Abroad Program (UCSD has sent more students abroad than any other UC campus); serving on the California Student Aid Commission as the UC representative for 14 years; and developing the UC Education Finance Model in order to allow students from low- and middle-income families to access an affordable education within the UC system. These are but a few of his many achievements.

From the earliest days at UC San Diego, Dr. Watson has been one of the most creative proponents of developing ways to attract the best and the brightest students of all races and backgrounds - without ever compromising admission standards. He has worked diligently to raise funds for scholarships and to increase transfer student housing, an avenue for enhancing the diversity of our student body. He has developed and implemented the faculty mentor program and has worked with Career Services to ensure that the breadth of programs developed meets the needs of all students and encourages them to apply to graduate and professional schools.

Students have always been Dr. Watson's number one priority. We can see this daily in his work to respond to the Student Satisfaction report. Student life at UCSD is improving and will continue to do so largely due to the legacy he will leave. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Joe; he will truly be missed.

A national search will be conducted for his successor.

Marye Anne Fox