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UCSD's First Female Chancellor Marye Anne Fox Dies At Age 73

File photo of then-UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox at the Funders' Day celebration, Nov. 18, 2010.
Erik Jepsen / UC San Diego
File photo of then-UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox at the Funders' Day celebration, Nov. 18, 2010.

Marye Anne Fox, UC San Diego's first female chancellor, died Sunday at age 73, UCSD announced Monday.

Fox was UCSD's seventh chancellor and led the university "during a historic era of extraordinary campus growth and through unprecedented financial challenges," Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said in a statement.

Under her leadership, UCSD completed a billion-dollar capital campaign, celebrated its 50th anniversary and expanded the campus to accommodate student growth and a billion-dollar research enterprise.


Fox was also an internationally renowned chemist. Her research advanced the world's understanding of renewable energy and environmental chemistry. For her work, she received the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award from the American Chemical Society and the Othmer Gold Medal — jointly awarded by the Science History Institute, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, The Chemists' Club and the American section of the Societe de Chimie Industrielle.

In 2010, Fox received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama.

She was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and to fellowships both in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association of Advancement of Science. She also received honorary degrees from 12 institutions in the United States and abroad.

"Because of her vision, UC San Diego became one of the greenest campuses in the nation and is now a living laboratory for climate change research and solutions," Khosla said.

Fox also instituted systemic changes in leadership, visibility and funding to improve diversity and enhance UC San Diego's campus climate. Her dedication paved the way for the university to establish a Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and laid the foundation for continuous learning and improvement.


In addition to her service to UCSD, Fox served on the Council on Competitiveness, Building Engineering and Science Talent, the Association of American Universities, National Security -- Higher Education Advisory Board and the World Universities Network.

"Marye Anne was extremely gracious during the transition period and upon my arrival at UC San Diego," Khosla said. "She left the campus in a very strong position -- ready for growth, poised for continuous innovation and valued for its contributions to the region, state and world. We would not be where we are today without her visionary leadership and steady hand."

She is survived by her husband, James K. Whitesell, UCSD professor of chemistry and biochemistry, as well as three sons and two stepsons.