May 20, 2009


SUBJECT:    UC San Diego Community Mourns Loss of Founding
Chancellor Herb York

UC San Diego’s founding Chancellor, Herb York, has died at the age of 87. Herb, who passed away May 19, served as the first Chancellor of the university from 1961-1964, and also stepped in as Acting Chancellor from 1970-1972. He was a trailblazer and a true leader who forged the path for the future of the university. He was, and always will be, an integral part of our UC San Diego family.

Herb York was not only a leader of UC San Diego, he also was a world leader and had a global impact. He was a teacher and a diplomat, serving as a mentor to students and an advisor to presidents. During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Herb was a world-renowned nuclear physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb as a young researcher. However, he later became a champion of arms control and social responsibility, and an ambassador for peace.

He had a long list of accomplishments as a scientist and a leader in national security issues. In addition to being the first chancellor of UC San Diego, he was the first in many of the positions he held. He served as the first director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which was managed by the University of California. He was appointed as the first director of Defense Research and Engineering and he served as an advisor to several U.S. presidents, beginning with Dwight Eisenhower. He also founded and was director of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, which is headquartered at UC San Diego.

Among the numerous awards he received was the prestigious Vannevar Bush Award in 2000 for his leadership in the arms control movement and his work in nuclear energy. That same year, he also received the Department of Energy’s Enrico Fermi Award. In addition, The University of California bestowed upon him its only systemwide honor, the UC Presidential Medal, for his extraordinary contributions to the University.

Herb York made this campus and this world a better place. We will forever be grateful for his leadership and vision.

A memorial service will be held at the university; the date has not yet been determined.

Marye Anne Fox