Watch CBS News

University of Miami president Julio Frenk named UCLA's new chancellor

Julio Frenk named UCLA's new chancellor
Julio Frenk named UCLA's new chancellor 02:56

The University of California Board of Regents appointed a new chancellor for UCLA Wednesday, naming University of Miami President Julio Frenk to the position.

UCLA's current chancellor, Gene Block, is set to retire at the end of July after serving as leader of the university since 2007.

Frenk, a global health expert, will be the first Latino to lead the university and will begin in January 2025. UCLA Provost Darnell Hunt will serve as interim chancellor until then.

"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 a statement. "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." 

Frenk, whose father and grandfather were Jews who fled Germany in the 1930s to Mexico to escape growing antisemitism, acknowledged the issues facing the university, and institutes of higher education nationwide.

"I consider myself a boundary spanner and a bridge builder," Frenk said. "And I know that the strength of institutions of higher learning -- socially, academically and intellectually -- comes from their diversity and from a willingness to cross boundaries."   recently came under fire for his handling of the pro-Palestine campus encampment, and other protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

Block has seen success in his tenure, but came under fire in his handling of the pro-Palestine campus encampment on the UCLA campus, and other protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

On May 2, police arrested more than 200 people on campus, a day after violence erupted as people inside the encampment were attacked by counter-demonstrators.

Fighting continued for several hours before police stepped in. Block was criticized for not calling in police sooner.

Twenty-five arrests were made Monday when police and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with another protest on campus.

"At UCLA, even in dark times there is still so, so much light," Block wrote in a message to the UCLA community last week. He noted that the war in Gaza has "sown division and strife here on campus," leading to instances of "outright violence."

"The war's impact on our campus reached a crescendo in the last six weeks, and this period now looms large in UCLA's collective consciousness," Block wrote.

Block said that serving as UCLA's chancellor had been the greatest honor of his professional life.

During hiss tenure, Block increased enrollment by 24 percent, led the university through the pandemic and the boosted UCLA's ranking as the No. 1 public university for six years running, up from No. 4 when he joined the university.

Block has praised the university's research skills that delivered five Nobel Prizes in 10 years, and nearly doubled external annual research funding, according to UCLA.

Last year, the university launched UCLA South Bay on 35.5 acres on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and UCLA Downtown, a high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.

After stepping down, Block will remain a member of the UCLA faculty.

He intends to return to the lab and continue his research as a member of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine and in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the UCLA College.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.