Last week, UC President Richard Atkinson announced plans to retire next October, and the nationwide search for a replacement has already begun.

Nine days after Atkinson’s Nov. 13 announcement that he would be stepping down from his eight-year post as the University of California’s 17th president, UC Regents chairman John J. Moores announced his selections for a nine-member Special Committee created to begin the nationwide search for a new UC president. The committee is chaired by John G. Davies, a former Regent who spent 10 years with the board, and includes five members hand-picked by Moores, including Davies, Judith L. Hopkinson, Sherry L. Lansing, Monica C. Lozano and George M. Marcus.

According to Bylaw 10.5, UC official policy dictates the selection of four members from the UC Board of Regents by virtue of their position.

Regent members include Board of Regents President and California governor Gray Davis, Moores, Fred B. Sainick and Student Regent and UC Berkeley political economy major Dexter Ligot-Gordon.

“I am pleased that such an experienced and able group of Regents will represent us in this important task,” Moores said in a statement released Friday.

In the statement, Moores said the committee would soon begin the lengthy process of establishing criteria for the new president and reviewing eligible candidates.

“In the months ahead, the committee will conduct a thorough, nationwide search for a new president with the vision, scholarship and leadership to maintain the exceptional quality and accessibility of the University of California,” he said.

Committee meetings will begin after additional advisory committees have been named. Because it has been eight years since the last University president was selected, the criteria for selection may have changed, according to the president’s assistant Brad Hayward.

“Circumstances change with each president, and while the ideal candidate will be a person who has higher education leadership skills and is recognized nationally, there are many new details that the Special Committee will have to think deeply about,” he said.

In a Nov. 14 article, the Los Angeles Times named UCSB’s Chancellor Henry Yang, along with the chancellors for UCLA and UCSD, in a short list of potential candidates for the job.

While the Special Committee is the primary search engine for the new appointee, official UC policy states that several other committees must also be consulted in the process. These will include an Academic Advisory Committee, selected by the Academic Council whose members have yet to be named, and committees comprised of students, staff and alumni. Each committee will include at least one representative from each UC campus.