Saturday, May 20, 2006

More Changes at UCLA

UCLA Vice Chancellor for External Affairs Michael Eicher has accepted an appointment as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He'll be leaving UCLA in mid-July after serving for more than seven years in his current position.

External Affairs consists of about 500 staffers who handle some of the most important and visible aspects of UCLA's community presence. EA, as it's known on campus, is the umbrella department for communications, marketing, government and community relations, alumni relations, information technology, and development (aka fundraising), as well as a special staff that functions as the advance/event team for the Chancellor. The department is considered a model for many colleges and universities across the country. In recent years, the government and community relations office has grown in size and stature; this has paid off well, with excellent connections between the University and elected officials at every level. However, the focus under Eicher has definitely been development. He headed up Campaign UCLA, a fundraising drive that raised over $3 billion for the University, since its inception.

Eicher worked in UCLA Health Sciences Development from 1986 until 1995, when he was appointed Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development before moving up to Associate Vice Chancellor for Development just a year later. Though he is well-liked, he has a reputation on campus as an absolute perfectionist. Among staff, he is renowned for attending lavish, picture-perfect events that have been labored over for months, only to utter a single negative comment about the choice of hors d'oeuvres or the absence of a name tag for a prominent guest.

His departure will leave a large leadership void at the University. There will be no one to select his replacement when he leaves, as current Chancellor Albert Carnesale is set to step down on June 30. The top pick to replace Carnesale recently removed herself from the process and the search is beginning again. However, in better news, former Executive Vice Chancellor Rory Hume may have his hat in the ring for the Chancellor position, contrary to what I'd heard previously. Here's hoping UCLA recognizes a good opportunity to bring him back.

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