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New UCSD Chancellor Hopes To Raise Endowment Into The Billions

Dr. Pradeep Khosla, the new chancellor at UC San Diego, talks to KPBS.

GUEST:

Dr. Pradeep Khosla, chancellor, UC San Diego

Transcript

UC San Diego's eighth chancellor started work at the La Jolla campus today, with a long list of events scheduled.

— UC San Diego's eighth chancellor Pradeep Khosla looked on as future engineering students built and tested containers to protect tomatoes dropped from a big yellow balloon, 125 feet in the air.

It was Khosla's first morning on the job at the La Jolla campus. The former dean of Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering takes over from Marye Anne Fox, who stepped down to return to her roots as a chemistry professor. She will remain at UCSD.

Khosla's first day also included a video conference with alumni on beginning a new career, holding a news conference and touring the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, according to the school.

Khosla said specific plans for the school's future will be mapped out with input from the university community, but his priorities include insulating UCSD from the state’s budget woes through fundraising and new revenue generating efforts.

“The over-arching theme is going to be the quality of life for the students, which includes the quality of academic enterprise, which of course has an impact on faculty and our research,” he said.

He said he is also interested in strengthening the campus' ties to the local business community and continuing to diversify the student body. The incoming freshman Khosla met Wednesday morning are part of the Jacobs School of Engineering's Summer Pre-Engineering Program for the school's IDEA Scholars.

Whatever Khosla's priorities are for the campus in the coming years, the students, faculty and staff he met Wednesday all have their own ideas about what is important for the university's future.

Carlos Coimbra advises these students, who come from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in higher education. He hopes Khosla focuses on securing funding for higher education in California.

“For a state that has it’s whole economy based on ideas, not to invest in the university system is a suicidal move,” he said.

Terrance Mayes heads student life and diversity for the engineering school. He’d like to see a continued focus on diversity across the school with more programs like IDEA Scholars.

“We’ve sort of pioneered this sort of program here at the school of engineering. But I do hope that other divisions on campus will sort of follow our dean’s lead and that the chancellor will support them in that.”

Future student Taylor Nelson says Khosla’s visit makes her feel she’s already an important part of the campus. She hopes to see a lot more of him.

“I hope he’s interactive, I hope he doesn’t stay up in his office, like he’s just interactive with the campus and everything.”

Khosla takes over a campus with more than 29,000 students and nearly as many employees.

He is set to make $411,084 annually, almost $20,000 more than Fox, who led UCSD for eight years.

Under Fox, the university earned respectable national and international rankings, raised a record amount of money and embarked on a building program.

Khosla, who was born in India and is married with three children, emerged as the leading candidate in an international search. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and has won several major engineering awards.

Khosla has written three books and numerous articles. His undergraduate degree in electrical engineering was from the Indian Institute of Technology, and he earned his master's and doctorate at Carnegie Mellon.

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