Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Michael Reese (510) 987-9200
A. Córdova Named UC Riverside Chancellor
France A. Córdova, a nationally recognized astrophysicist
who currently serves as vice chancellor for research at UC
Santa Barbara, today (April 9) was named chancellor of the
University of California's Riverside campus.
Acting on the recommendation of President Richard C. Atkinson,
the UC Board of Regents appointed Córdova the seventh
chancellor of UC Riverside during a special meeting conducted
by telephone conference call. Córdova, whose appointment
is effective July 1, succeeds Raymond L. Orbach as chancellor.
Córdova, 54, served as chief scientist at NASA before
coming to UC Santa Barbara in 1996. She previously headed
the department of astronomy and astrophysics at Pennsylvania
State University and served as deputy group leader of the
Space Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at the Los Alamos National
"France Córdova brings outstanding academic credentials,
solid leadership experience, a commitment to educational opportunity,
and a talent for working cooperatively with both the campus
community and the broader community," Atkinson said.
"Her enthusiasm, intelligence, charisma and record of
achievement will make her a superb chancellor for UC Riverside."
John J. Moores, chairman of the Board of Regents, called
Córdova "an excellent selection. Her qualifications
speak for themselves. She is a highly accomplished, national-caliber
scientist and leader who clearly possesses the experience
and skills to be a very effective chancellor. I could not
be more pleased with the search process, the caliber of the
candidates and the outcome."
Córdova emerged as Atkinson's top choice for the position
after a national search that produced more than 200 candidates.
The president was advised by a committee representing regents;
faculty, students, staff, and alumni of UCR; and the UC Riverside
"I am deeply honored by this appointment, and I look
forward to joining the Riverside community," Córdova
said. "Riverside is a beautiful city, and UC Riverside
is a vibrant institution with a demonstrated commitment to
excellence in teaching, research and public service. I eagerly
anticipate working with the faculty, students, staff, alumni,
neighbors and friends of UCR to build on the progress and
distinguished achievements they have made."
Córdova serves as professor of physics and vice chancellor
for research at UC Santa Barbara. As vice chancellor, in addition
to her regular duties, she initiated a program to encourage
and fund research across disciplines. She also spearheaded
a campus-wide effort to increase opportunities for students
to engage in research, establishing panels of faculty and
students, visiting dormitories, speaking at student orientations,
developing a research Web site, and allocating funding to
encourage undergraduate research, among other things.
The scientific contributions of Córdova's career have
been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics,
multi-spectral research on X-ray and gamma ray sources, and
space-borne instrumentation. She has published more than 130
From 1993 to 1996, she was chief scientist at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, serving as the primary
scientific advisor to the NASA administrator and the principal
interface between NASA headquarters and the broader scientific
community. Prior to that she held positions at Pennsylvania
State University from 1989 to 1993 and at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory from 1979 to 1989.
Córdova is the winner of NASA's highest honor, the
Distinguished Service Medal. This year, the National Research
Council named her a National Associate of the National Academies
in recognition of extraordinary service.
Córdova was named one of the "100 Most Influential
Hispanics" by Hispanic Business magazine in 1997 and
again this year has been named one of "80 Elite Hispanic
Women" by the magazine. She also received the Hispanic
Achievement Award in Science and Technology from Hispanic
magazine in 1997.
The oldest of 12 children, Córdova attended high school
in La Puente, Calif., east of Los Angeles. She then entered
Stanford University, where she graduated cum laude with a
bachelor's degree in English and, among other activities,
conducted anthropology field work in a Zapotec Indian pueblo
in Oaxaca, Mexico. She attained a Ph.D. in physics from the
California Institute of Technology in 1979.
Córdova is married to Christian J. Foster, a science
educator, and has two children - Anne-Catherine, 15, and Stephen,
UC Riverside, a center of research and learning in the rapidly
growing Inland Empire region of southern California, is also
the fastest-growing campus in the UC system. In fall 2001,
UCR enrolled 14,429 students - 10 percent more than the year
before - and employed 6,143 faculty and staff. The 1,200-acre
campus has an annual budget of more than $312 million.
In each of the last seven years, among all institutions in
the country, UC Riverside has had either the largest or second-largest
number of faculty members named as fellows of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. A total of 69
UCR faculty members have now been elected to AAAS fellowship.
UC Riverside began in 1907 as a citrus experiment station,
conducting research benefiting California agriculture. A College
of Letters and Science began offering classes in 1954, and
UCR was named a general campus of the University of California
Orbach, who had served as chancellor of UC Riverside since
1992, resigned earlier this year to become director of the
Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy.
Córdova will be paid $265,200 per year, the same salary
Orbach earned as chancellor.
Córdova's current web site is http://research.ucsb.edu/news/vcr/vcrhome.shtml.
In addition, a video interview with Córdova currently
appears on the web site of Hispanic Business Magazine at http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=6526.
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