UCLA Announces New Chancellor

University of Miami President Dr. Julio Frenk will take the reins in January 2025
June 12, 2024
President, University of Miami Dr. Julio Frenk speaks onstage during the 2023 Concordia Annual Summit at Sheraton New York on September 19, 2023 (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

UCLA announced on June 12 that their new chancellor is going to be Dr. Julio Frenk, the outgoing president of the University of Miami who also happens to be a Latino Jew.

The university noted in their announcement that the 70-year-old Frenk had been serving as the University of Miami’s president since Aug. 2015, where “he achieved a dramatic turnaround of the university’s academic health system, drawing on the strengths of its Miller School of Medicine, and made strategic investments in educational innovation and interdisciplinary research” and promoted “culture of belonging,” in his words. Born in Mexico, Frenk has also previously served as that country’s secretary of health, a World Health Organization executive director and dean of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“At this crucial moment for higher education, returning to the public sector to lead one of the top research universities in the world — including one of the 10 largest academic health systems — is an exciting opportunity and a great honor for me,” Frenk said in the university’s announcement. “I look forward to adding my lifelong commitment to public service in education and health care to the vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan community that is Los Angeles.”

At a press conference announcing Frenk’s appointment, the chancellor-to-be vowed “inclusive excellence” at the university and will be focused on building “bridges among disciplines, among geographies,” The Daily Bruin reported. Additionally, the Bruin paraphrased Frenk as pledging “to balance protecting free expression with ensuring that the university can provide a learning environment free from harassment and discrimination.”

“Dr. Frenk has demonstrated a powerful commitment to the health and well-being of people, institutions and systems around the world,” UC President Michael Drake said in a statement. “His leadership will build on the growth and strength the campus has achieved under Chancellor Block and accelerate UCLA’s brilliant trajectory in service to Los Angeles, the nation and the world.”

Outgoing Chancellor Gene Block released a statement calling Frenk “an excellent choice” who is “widely respected across academia.” “UCLA is in great hands,” he said. “I am certain that UCLA’s star will rise even higher under Julio.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-West Los Angeles) said in a statement, “ Dr. Frenk is a renown global health expert who admirably led the University of Miami. He is the son of a German Jewish father who fled Nazi Germany, and will make history as UCLA’s first Latino Chancellor. He will bring meaningful perspective to his work at UCLA. I look forward to working with Dr. Frenk and have no doubt he will build on outgoing Chancellor Block’s incredible work in making UCLA the outstanding university it is today.”

Frenk will officially begin his tenure as UCLA chancellor in January 2025; Block is stepping down at the end of July 2024. UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt will serve as the interim chancellor.

Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, Frenk issued a statement that read in part: “We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel, with all those impacted by the violence, and with all who seek peace. The images emerging from the war are harrowing. Our hearts break for Israelis and for the Jewish state, as well as for the innocent Palestinians, Druze, Bedouins, and others who live within its borders and the region. The most recent reports indicate more than 1,200 lives have been lost so far. We condemn any form of aggression targeting civilians, including the taking of hostages.” He also noted the University of Miami’s “deep ties to Israel.”

In November, Frenk was part of a panel on the University of Miami’s campus last November with Hillel International CEO Adam Lehman and Jewish student Abi Schcolnik; Frenk said that “Freedom of expression has clear rules and clear limits. Number one: no hate speech, no incitement to violence, and no public display of support to organizations that have been officially declared by our government as terrorist organizations.”

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