March 21, 2023
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Lucas to retire from UCSB after 36 years


Gene Lucas, longtime executive vice chancellor of US Santa Barbara and a fixture on campus for more than three decades, will retire at the end of the year, the university said Dec. 10.

Lucas, a college of engineering graduate in the early 1970s, returned to campus in 1978 to join the College of Engineering faculty. A nuclear engineer by training, he made his biggest mark during the past 11 years, helping to guide the campus through a multibillion-dollar expansion program and then severe budget cuts as the financial crisis sliced into state revenue support.

“I am honored to congratulate Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful for his transformative leadership and enduring legacy.”

Lucas received his graduate training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and expected to join the faculty there but was recruited by his former professor at UCSB, G. Robert Odette. A low-key consensus builder, Lucas guided the university’s strategic academic Plan, its long-range development plan and accreditation processes. Lucas also co-chaired the campus budget strategy committee which oversaw a series of cutbacks that were designed to keep intact UCSB’s resurgent reputation for academic excellence.

He described himself as an “accidental administrator” who came to enjoy guiding the overall direction of the campus during a 36-year tenure. He was named to the 2014 class of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.