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New UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor is Hampshire College president Ralph J. Hexter

November 23, 2010

Photo: Ralph J. Hexter

Ralph J. Hexter will assume his new post at UC Davis on Jan. 1. (Hampshire College photo)

Ralph J. Hexter, a respected university administrator, scholar in classics and comparative literature, and former executive dean at the University of California, Berkeley, is leaving the presidency of Hampshire College and returning to California to become UC Davis’ provost and executive vice chancellor.

Hexter officially assumes his new post on Jan. 1, after UC President Mark G. Yudof and UC Regent Bruce Varner, chair of the UC Board of Regents Committee on Compensation, approved the appointment on Nov. 22. The action will be reported to the full board of regents at its January 2011 meeting.

As provost and executive vice chancellor, Hexter will serve as the No. 2 person in the UC Davis administration and report directly to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. He will be the university’s chief academic officer and, in that post, he will represent the chancellor in her absence and serve as the chancellor's principal liaison to the Academic Senate.

“Our nationwide search for UC Davis’ next provost attracted extraordinary candidates, and Ralph Hexter rose to the top of that list,” Katehi said.

“Ralph’s resume offers an impressive record as an administrator and scholar who has inspired excellence throughout his career. We are fortunate and proud that we soon will be able to count him among our colleagues.”

Since 2005, Hexter has served as president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., a selective liberal arts college with 1,500 students and 95 full-time faculty.

At UC Davis, Hexter will be responsible for leading the development of academic priorities and strategies and recruiting and retaining a diverse and talented faculty and, in coordination with the chancellor, will lead the university’s strategic planning process, allocate resources, plan the budget and manage the daily operation of the campus. He will also hold an academic appointment as a professor of classics and comparative literature.

“I’m extremely happy about returning to California and to the UC system, and incredibly excited and enthusiastic about embracing this new opportunity at UC Davis,” Hexter said. “California has a marvelous long-term history and commitment to higher education, and it’s clear that UC Davis is among the top ranks of the nation’s public research universities. Linda Katehi is an inspiring leader and a great collaborator, and I look forward to joining her team.”

Throughout his administrative career, Hexter has continued to teach, lecture, and publish on the interpretation and meaning of classical Greek and Roman literature from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times.

He is currently completing work on a co-edited volume of essays on medieval Latin literature for Oxford University Press.

After earning degrees at Harvard, Oxford (Corpus Christi College) and Yale, Hexter taught for a decade in Yale’s classics department before moving to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he directed the graduate program in comparative literature. In 1995 he joined the faculty at UC Berkeley. He quickly climbed up the ranks, taking up posts as chair of Comparative Literature, and then dean of Arts and Humanities and executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, the last two concurrently.

At Berkeley, Hexter successfully recruited and retained faculty under intense competition from other universities, and he also was active in securing philanthropic support for UC Berkeley from individuals and foundations.

Shortly after he arrived at Hampshire, Hexter launched a comprehensive revisioning exercise to focus the college on its future as it neared its 40th anniversary, celebrated earlier this year. In addition, he added to his president’s cabinet a special assistant for diversity and multicultural education; completed funding on what became the college's first building to receive LEED gold environmental certification; and, through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, laid the groundwork for a deeper integration of the study of languages other than English into the college’s courses and individual student and faculty projects.

A recipient of the University of Massachusetts’ Continuing the Legacy of Stonewall Award (2008), Hexter is a founding member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, and has served on its steering committee.

Hexter will succeed Enrique Lavernia as provost and executive vice chancellor. Lavernia, who has served in that role since January 2009, will return to his former post as dean of UC Davis’ College of Engineering.

As provost and executive vice chancellor, Hexter will receive an annual base salary of $350,000. In keeping with UC policy, additional compensation will include a relocation allowance, hiring bonus, temporary living assistance, moving expenses and eligibility for a Mortgage Origination Program loan.

Additional details about the total compensation package will be posted in mid-January at the UC Regents website on salaries and compensation.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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