October 13, 2015
UW Regents name Ana Mari Cauce president
The University of Washington Board of Regents selected Interim President Ana Mari Cauce to be the 33rd president of the University at a special meeting of the board Tuesday. She is the first woman to be named to the position and the first Latina. The selection will become effective upon successful completion of contract terms.
“The Board of Regents is delighted to make this appointment,” said Board chair Bill Ayer. “President Cauce has proven over the past seven months serving in an interim capacity to be an extraordinary leader. Her dedication to the UW is unparalleled. Her love for the University is evident in her strong work ethic and in her vision: improving student access and affordability, creating a leading-edge student experience, fostering greater innovation, and delivering global impact. Because of her intimate understanding of the University and all that it stands for and all that it aspires to be, she is also a passionate spokesperson and advocate. Ana Mari has an unmatched ability to connect with people — students, faculty and staff, as well as those outside the University — to listen and understand their perspectives, and take action as necessary.
“Our rigorous presidential search process has validated that Ana Mari is exactly the right person to take us to the next level in our long-term quest to become the best public research university in the world. She has the full confidence and enthusiastic support of the Board.”
“I am grateful to the Board and to the search committee for the confidence they are placing in me to lead this amazing University,” said Cauce. “We have assembled here one of the great faculties of any university on Earth, and we attract the most ambitious and remarkable students. They come here to study and learn. They transform their lives and, we hope, the lives of others. I am immensely proud of who we are as a University — one that is dedicated to access and excellence. These values are the hallmark of what it means to be a great public university, and I am thrilled at the prospect of how much more we can do for our students, for the state of Washington, and for people around the world whose lives we touch in some way.”
The search for the UW president began last spring with the appointment by the Board of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, chaired by Chancellor Emeritus Kenyon Chan and comprising 28 individuals representing all segments of the University community and its supporters: five students, six faculty members, six administrators/staff, six community leaders, and four Regents. The Regents engaged Witt/Kieffer Search Consultants to assist in the search.
The consultants and the committee contacted approximately 100 leaders in higher education and related fields, generating nearly 70 nominations. By the end of the summer, the search committee reviewed a list of 58 applicants and prospects and narrowed its focus to 29 high-potential prospects that included 17 sitting presidents/chancellors, nine provosts, and three non-university nominees. Of the 26 university-employed prospects, all were from the Association of American Universities or similar universities with the complexities and characteristics that matched well with the University of Washington.
After receiving and reviewing the search committee’s recommendations, the Board conducted additional analysis and interviews with candidates both external and internal to the University before arriving at today’s final selection of Cauce.
Born in Cuba, where her father was the minister of education, Cauce left with her family during the revolution when she was 3 years old. She grew up in Miami, where both her parents took jobs in shoe factories, hoping they could return to Cuba. Both placed a very high value on the power of education.
Cauce joined the UW faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of psychology after earning degrees in English and psychology from the University of Miami in 1977, summa cum laude, and a Ph.D. in psychology, with a concentration in child clinical and community psychology from Yale University in 1984.
Cauce is a professor of psychology and American ethnic studies. She has held numerous leadership positions at the UW, including director of the UW Honors Program, chair of American ethnic studies, chair of psychology, executive vice provost and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
From 2012 to 2015, prior to being appointed interim president, she served as the University’s executive vice president and provost, the chief academic officer, responsible for overseeing the education, research and service missions in the University’s schools, colleges and other academic units, including Academic and Student Affairs. As the UW’s chief budgetary officer, she was responsible for resource allocations and worked closely with the president on strategic planning and long-term decision-making.
In the wake of a series of disturbing events across the country last spring, Cauce announced a Race and Equity Initiative aimed at creating a climate that supports understanding, respect and acceptance across individual and group differences. The initiative commenced in April with a major address by Cauce followed by discussions about race, equality and justice. Another round of discussions with students was held Oct. 6.
Cauce maintains an active research program, focusing on adolescent development, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth. She is also active in encouraging women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, teaching and activism, including the much-prized University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award. She remains active in the classroom and continues to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students.