The UC Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the appointment of Juan Sánchez Muñoz as UC Merced’s fourth chancellor. He will officially step into the position in late July, marking the end of current chancellor Dorothy Leland’s nine-year term.
Since 2017, Muñoz has served as the president of the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), according to a press release from the UC Office of the President. There, he led recovery efforts following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and launched the university’s largest capital campaign, according to the press release.
In his new role at UCM, Muñoz will be at the helm of the institution with the highest percentage of low-income and first-generation college students in the UC system, according to the press release.
A first-generation student himself, Muñoz’s return to the UC also marks a return to his roots. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990, Muñoz went on to attain a master’s degree in Mexican-American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles and a doctorate degree from UC Los Angeles, according to the press release.
Before his tenure at UHD, Muñoz was the vice provost for undergraduate education and student affairs and senior vice president for diversity, equity and community engagement at Texas Tech University, according to the press release. Before that, he worked in the Department of Secondary Education as an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton.
Early in his career, Muñoz worked as a secondary school teacher, a community college advisor and served as a Marine, according to the press release.
“Dr. Muñoz’s experience and qualifications alone make him an outstanding choice to lead UC Merced,” John A. Pérez, chair of the UC Board of Regents, said in the press release.
“Add to that his passion for ensuring the success of all students, especially public school students from underrepresented and underserved communities, and it is clear he is the perfect match for UC Merced as the campus moves forward on its impressive journey,” Pérez continued.