The University of California Board of Regents unanimously chose UC San Diego Chancellor Robert Dynes as the next UC president at their June 11 meeting.

Dynes was selected from a pool of more than 300 people after a seven-month long nationwide search. The regents approved Dynes’ nomination in a closed-door meeting June 11, and Dynes will take office Oct. 2. The regents also approved a salary of $395,000 for Dynes. He replaces current UC President Richard C. Atkinson, who will retire Oct. 1 after eight years in office.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Dynes said. “It is a profound honor and a genuine thrill to accept this nomination.”

Atkinson said he was pleased with Dynes’ nomination.

“He is a first-rate scholar, a highly capable manager and a deeply compassionate individual. His record of performance as chancellor, his commitment to the core values of the University of California and his vision for the future will make him a superb president,” Atkinson said in a press release.

Dynes worked in the private sector at AT&T Bell Laboratories prior to coming to UCSD as a physics professor. He became chancellor of UCSD in 1996.

Dynes’ salary is set to be higher than Atkinson’s $361,400 salary, even with the budget cuts facing the UC system. The regents approved the salary in an 18-1 vote. Student Regent Dexter Ligot-Gordon of UC Berkeley was the only one to oppose the salary. He said he supports Dynes but believes the new president shouldn’t be paid more than the current one at a time when student fees are increasing, programs are being cut and UC employees are receiving only minimal raises.

The regents said in a press release that Dynes’ salary is consistent with the $394,640 average presidential salary at comparable public institutions.

Dynes’ tenure as president begins at a time when the UC system faces about $300 million in state budget cuts along with increasing enrollment. New tuition fee increases have already been instated this year, with the possibility of future increases.

“We are under severe budget pressure right now, and the one thing I will not compromise is the quality of the University,” Dynes said. “So if we need to adjust the growth, we will do that until such time that we find funds to continue the quality of the University.”

Even with the cuts, Dynes said the University of California has a responsibility to find the best student applicants to the University and offer them the opportunity of a higher education.

“The most difficult part of that is finding the best, the brightest and the most highly motivated young people,” he said. “We should be continually revising our thinking as to how to find those best, brightest people. Changes in the nature of admissions, changes that President Atkinson put in place, I applaud because they are attempts to be even better at finding the best and giving them the opportunity.”

UC also faces the possible loss of management contracts of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory research facilities. After allegations of employee fraud and lapses in management, the U.S. Dept. of Energy announced this spring that the management contract for both laboratories will go up for bid when the contract with UC expires in 2005.

Dynes is familiar with the laboratories, having served as vice chair of the UC President’s Council on the National Laboratories and as a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Oversight Board. He said it is premature for the University to decide whether to compete for the contract.

“It would depend on the Dept. of Energy and the request for proposals,” Dynes said. “If the conditions are consistent with the mission of the University of California, then I believe we should go forward.”

However, Dynes also said the University should proceed as if it were going to bid on the contract in 2005.

“I believe at the moment we should continue to prepare as if we will be competing,” he said.