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Mark Yudof

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Mark Yudof

Mark Yudof
19th President of the University of California
In office
June 16, 2008 – September 6, 2013
Preceded by Robert C. Dynes
Succeeded by Janet Napolitano
9th Chancellor of the University of Texas System
In office
August 1, 2002 – June 15, 2008
Preceded by R. D. Burck
Succeeded by Francisco G. Cigarroa
14th President of the University of Minnesota
In office
July 1, 1997 – August 1, 2002
Preceded by Nils Hasselmo
Succeeded by Robert Bruininks
Personal details
Born Mark George Yudof
(1944-10-30) October 30, 1944
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s) Judy Gomel Yudof
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Profession University administrator, law professor

Mark George Yudof (born October 30, 1944)[1][2] is an American law professor and academic administrator. He is the former president of the University of California (2008-2013), former chancellor of the University of Texas System (2002–2008), and former president of the University of Minnesota (1997–2002).

In addition to his position as Chancellor at The University of Texas, Yudof held the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law. Previously, he was a faculty member and administrator at The University of Texas at Austin for 26 years, serving as dean of the School of Law from 1984 to 1994 and as the University’s executive vice president and provost from 1994 to 1997.


  • Early life 1
  • Legal and academic career (1971–1984) 2
  • University administration career 3
    • Dean of the University of Texas School of Law (1984–1994) 3.1
    • Executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin (1994–1997) 3.2
    • President of the University of Minnesota (1997–2002) 3.3
    • Chancellor of the University of Texas System (2002–2008) 3.4
    • President of the University of California (2008–2013) 3.5
      • California budget crisis 3.5.1
      • Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan 3.5.2
      • Project You Can 3.5.3
  • Selected papers 4
  • Recognition 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born in Philadelphia to parents of Ukrainian Jewish descent, Yudof was raised in West Philadelphia.[3][4] Yudof's father worked as an electrician.[3] Yudof earned his B.A. cum laude in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and LL.B. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1968.[2]

Legal and academic career (1971–1984)

Yudof joined the faculty of The University of Texas School of Law in 1971. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School and UC Berkeley School of Law.[2]

Yudof is a recognized expert in the fields of constitutional law, freedom of expression, and education law. He was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case San Antonio v. Rodriguez, the landmark school finance lawsuit. He is the author of Gender Justice (with David L. Kirp and Marlene Franks), (Chicago Press, 1986; Paperback, 1987) and of When Government Speaks: Politics, Law, and Government Expression in America, (The University of California Press, 1983).[5] Yudof became a member of the State Bar of Texas in 1980.[6]

University administration career

Dean of the University of Texas School of Law (1984–1994)

From 1984 to 1994, Yudof served as dean of the University of Texas School of Law.[2]

Executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin (1994–1997)

From 1994 to 1997, Yudof served as executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin. In that position, Yudof initiated many improvements to undergraduate education, including creating a freshman seminar program and Academy of Distinguished Teachers.[7]

President of the University of Minnesota (1997–2002)

On July 1, 1997, Yudof took office as the 14th president of the University of Minnesota.[2] In his first year as president, Yudof took advantage of a state budget surplus to fund construction projects, historic preservation, and academic priorities at the university. Yudof helped to establish freshman seminars. In 1999 the university moved from a quarter to semester system.[8]

The university encountered scandal in 1999 after the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that an academic counseling staffer at Minnesota claimed to have done coursework for many student-athletes on the Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball program over the past five years, as well as several other NCAA rules violations by Minnesota basketball.[9] Yudof oversaw self-imposed sanctions on the men's basketball program. Those sanctions included a $1.5 million buyout of the contract of head coach Clem Haskins,[10] a postseason ban for the 1999–00 season,[11] and scholarship reductions.[12] The scandal led to the resignations of men's athletic director Mark Dienhart and university vice president McKinley Boston.[12] Members of the university board of regents praised Yudof for his handling of the scandal.[13] By 2002, Yudof united men's and women's athletics at Minnesota under a single athletic director.[8]

Chancellor of the University of Texas System (2002–2008)

Yudof became the ninth chancellor of the University of Texas System on August 1, 2002.[14] Simultaneously, he was president emeritus at the University of Minnesota and Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law.[5] As University of Texas System chancellor, Yudof allowed individual campuses to set their own tuition rates.[15] He resigned on June 15, 2008 to become President of the University of California system.[16]

President of the University of California (2008–2013)

In March 2008, Yudof was selected as the next president of UC, to succeed Robert C. Dynes.[17] He began his term on June 16, 2008.

In November 2009, TIME Magazine recognized Mark Yudof as one of the "10 Best College Presidents", citing his efforts to provide opportunity and access to a quality education for California residents with financial need whose family income is less than $60,000.[15]

In January 2013, Yudof announced his plan to resign as president of the University of California, effective August 31, 2013.[18]

California budget crisis

The California budget crisis resulted in massive cuts to higher education by the California State Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[19] Struggling to grapple with the ensuing crisis, California legislative leaders cut more than 20 percent from the UC budget in one year - the largest budgetary reduction in the history of the UC. In a July 9 "Open Letter to UC alumni and friends," UC Regent Richard Blum; Russell Gould, then-chair; Sherry Lansing, then-vice chair; and UC president Yudof wrote,
"The UC model — providing universal access to a top-notch, low-cost education and research of the highest caliber — continues to be studied around the globe among those who would emulate its success. And yet, this model has been increasingly abandoned at home by a state government responsible for its core funding."[19]

As state budgetary support declined dramatically, Yudof kicked off an online grassroots advocacy effort in order to make the case for the University of California. In 2008, Yudof became the first president of a major research university to organize advocacy efforts using email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media components. Yudof called on all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to unite behind an aggressive push to make funding UC a state priority.

In 2009, Yudof further bolstered this effort through a campaign seeking to let legislators and the governor know how critical their support is in preserving the university's commitment to quality and student access.[20]

Also in 2009, Yudof came under criticism for an interview that he gave to Deborah Solomon of the New York Times, Big Man on Campus, in which he joked about taking a pay cut from his salary of over $800,000 to $400,000 in exchange for the White House and Air Force One.

Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan

In February 2009,[21] upon President Yudof's recommendation, the University of California Board of Regents unanimously approved a new financial aid plan intended to support college access for lower-income families and students. Under the policy, known as the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, undergraduates who are in their first four years of attendance at UC—or two for transfer students—will receive enough scholarship and grant assistance to at least fully cover their systemwide UC fees if they have incomes below $80,000 and meet other basic eligibility requirements for need-based financial aid.

Project You Can

In October 2009, seeking to help keep the University of California accessible and affordable for California students, President Yudof announced an ambitious effort that aims to raise $1 billion for student support over the next four years. Through the fundraising effort, Project You Can, all 10 UC campuses have committed to raise $1 billion in the aggregate over the next four years—doubling the amount of private support the system has raised for scholarships, fellowships and other gift aid in the previous five years.[22] The UC Board of Regents endorsed the effort at its November 2009 meeting. Yudof made the Project You Can announcement at Sunnyside High School, which for 10 years has propelled promising students toward health careers through its Doctors Academy, a program sponsored by UCSF Fresno. Despite facing social and economic barriers — 87 percent of Sunnyside's students are eligible for free or reduced lunch — all Doctors Academy graduates have gone on to college, 43 percent of them at UC campuses.

Selected papers

Citing increasingly unreliable funding provided to universities by state government, President Yudof called for the federal government to bolster its financial commitments to the nation’s universities and colleges in his paper titled Exploring a New Role for Federal Government in Higher Education. In announcing the proposal, Yudof remarked: [23]

We must find creative ways to expand the federal commitment to research and access into a new category: The nuts-and-bolts core funding that is vital to a robust university, allowing it to hire quality professors, equip laboratories and expand the physical plant.
New York Times columnist Bob Herbert visited the UC Berkeley campus and had this to say:
The problems at Berkeley are particularly acute because of the state’s drastic reduction of support. But colleges and universities across the country — public and private — are struggling because of the prolonged economic crisis and the pressure on state budgets. It will say a great deal about what kind of nation we’ve become if we let these most valuable assets slip into a period of decline.
His op-ed piece, "Cracks in the Future," ran in the New York Times citing UC Berkeley as evidence of the cracks appearing in America’s cornerstone of civilization - higher education.[24]


Yudof is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. In 1993, he and his wife, Judy, were the co-recipients of the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award. Judy Yudof served as the first female international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in 2002.[25] In February 2010, Regents of the University of Texas System established the Mark G. and Judy G. Yudof Chair for the benefit of the University of Texas School of Law.[26] In 2012, The Jewish Daily Forward named Yudof in its "Forward 50" list of influential Jewish Americans.[27]


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  12. ^ a b
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  15. ^ a b
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  18. ^
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ UC Newsroom
  21. ^ UC Announces Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan
  22. ^ UC Newsroom announcement
  23. ^ UC Budget blog,
  24. ^ Bob Herbert, The New York Times
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^

External links

  • University of California biography of Yudof at the Wayback Machine (archived September 1, 2013)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Nils Hasselmo
President of the University of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Robert Bruininks
Preceded by
Robert C. Dynes
President of the University of California
Succeeded by
Janet Napolitano
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