Richard C. Atkinson

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Richard C. Atkinson, "seventeenth president of the University of California, took office on October 1, 1995. Before becoming president of the UC System, he served as chancellor of UC San Diego; prior to that he served as director of the National Science Foundation and was a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University.

"An internationally respected scholar and scientist, Atkinson became the fifth chancellor of UC San Diego in 1980. During his tenure, the university doubled in size to about 18,000 students while increasing the distinction and breadth of its programs. The campus consistently placed among the top five universities in federal funding for research. In 1995, the quality of its graduate programs was ranked tenth in the nation by the National Research Council.

"Atkinson was appointed deputy director of the National Science Foundation by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Two years later, President Jimmy Carter promoted him to director. At NSF, he had a wide range of responsibilities for science policy at a national and international level, including negotiating the first memorandum of understanding in history between the People's Republic of China and the United States, an agreement for the exchange of scientists and scholars.

"...Atkinson's scientific contributions have resulted in election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. He is past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former chair of the Association of American Universities, the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, and a mountain in Antarctica has been named in his honor.

"His wife, Rita Atkinson, holds a PhD in psychology." [1]

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  1. Trustees, Council for Aid to Education, accessed July 25, 2011.