A Scholarly Coup : Academy to Move Offices to UC Irvine

Times Staff Writer

UC Irvine officials announced Monday that the western regional offices of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a scholastic organization, will relocate this fall from the Stanford University campus to UCI.

David Easton, a UCI political science professor and academy vice president, said that UCI competed with several other prestigious institutions, including UCLA, Stanford, and the Hoover Institution, for the honor of having the academy.

"The move is in recognition of the emergence of UC Irvine on the national scene as one of the country's most promising intellectual communities," said Easton, who was instrumental in making the move. He said the academy regional office will hold meetings, symposiums and special events on the UCI campus.

It was the high cost of operating the academy regional office at the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford that prompted the move, Easton said.

"We are able to get some support from the university here in Irvine that we were not able to get at the center," he said. "Also, UCI is located very centrally to our membership, which is divided about equally between Northern and Southern California. Previously, the regional office has always been in northern California."

Easton said UCI won out over UCLA, in part, because of its relatively smaller size.

"Some of us felt if we located at a smaller university that was intellectually aggressive and showed a great deal of promise, we would probably get more attention to our needs," Easton said. "So small really was beautiful in this case.

"And the really important thing is that the (UCI) administration is extremely cooperative and enthusiastic about our presence. We see it as a really aggressive, growing institution."

Main Office at Harvard

The main office of the 200-year-old academy is on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Mass., and its Midwest regional office is at the University of Chicago.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science are regarded as the two most prestigious scholastic organizations in the nation, UCI officials said.

The 2,000 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences are elected by their fellows based on scholastic accomplishments.

UCI Chancellor Jack W. Peltason, who is a member of the academy, said the move of the regional office to the Irvine campus is a boon to both the university and the Orange County community.

"The academy's decision is proof of our recognition as a major research institution," Peltason said. "It also reflects well on the community for its support of our endeavors over the years."

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