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Vice Chancellor Mitchell to Leave UCI for Berkeley

TIMES STAFF WRITER

UC Irvine’s longest-standing vice chancellor will leave the campus for UC Berkeley, UCI officials confirmed Wednesday.

Horace Mitchell, 50, the vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, will become Berkeley’s new vice chancellor for business and administrative services, officials said. He is currently the third highest ranking administrator at UCI and its top African American official.

He becomes the latest of five top administrators to leave UCI in the past 14 months. In addition to Mitchell, three vice chancellors and one executive vice chancellor have resigned or stepped down for jobs elsewhere.

“It’s for a variety of reasons,” UCI spokeswoman Karen Newell Young said. She noted that most of the administrators have gone on to bigger responsibilities.

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Since his arrival at UCI in 1978, Mitchell has supervised departments ranging from athletics and financial aid to student activities and the bookstore. Officials said Mitchell’s budget is currently about $60 million, and he manages more than 450 full-time employees and several hundred part-time workers.

As chief business officer for the Berkeley campus, Mitchell will manage a budget of $190 million, according to UC Berkeley documents, and a staff of about 2,400 employees.

Mitchell said he could not comment on the selection until UC Berkeley officials announce the appointment.

His departure will close a door on a piece of UCI’s past: He is the last vice chancellor at UCI to have been appointed by the campus founder, Dan Aldrich.

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Administrators and others at UCI congratulated Mitchell on Wednesday.

“He’ll bring a different perspective to the new job,” UCI Executive Vice Chancellor Sydney Golub said. “He’ll be very good for UC Berkeley.”

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Mitchell is a nationally recognized expert in strategic planning and diversity, Young said.

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UCI officials said Mitchell is scheduled to begin work at Berkeley on April 1. He will rejoin his onetime co-worker Chang-Lin Tien, who left his executive vice chancellor position at UCI in 1990 to become chancellor of the Berkeley campus.

Some UCI students said they were not surprised about Mitchell’s departure. He made it onto the final list of four candidates for the presidency of San Jose State University in December but was not selected for that job.

“Everyone sort of knew something was going to happen,” said Michelle Tsui, vice president of academic affairs for the Associated Students of UCI.

Tsui said Mitchell was easy to talk to and willing to meet with students. “He’s open to hearing what we have to say,” she said.

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Some students, frustrated with increasing student fees and tighter budgets, have butted heads with his office on occasion.

Randy Lewis, director of student activities, said the nature of Mitchell’s job means conflict with students at times. “But they’ll say he has always been a straight shooter and good listener,” Lewis said. “Losing him is a big blow to UCI,” he added.

Mitchell, a licensed psychologist, teaches courses at UCI such as the Social Psychology of African-American Families, officials said. He is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior.

But Mitchell has been active outside of UCI as well.

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He has headed the United Way of Orange County’s board of directors for the past two years and is a former president of the Volunteer Center of Greater Orange County’s board.

Mitchell is also the vice president of 100 Black Men of Orange County and one of the leaders of the African-American Leadership Roundtable of Orange County. He has been honored by local chapters of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League.

Before joining UCI, he was an administrator and faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his doctorate in counseling psychology.

He is married to Barbara Mitchell, a counselor at Saddleback High School in Santa Ana.

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