Kim A. Wilcox, a former top official at Michigan State University, was appointed as the ninth chancellor of UC Riverside at a special meeting of the UC Board of Regents on Thursday.
The board voted unanimously for the selection, with regents praising Wilcox’s commitment to top-tier research and student diversity.
But his compensation of $354,000 drew strong objections from Gov. Jerry Brown. The salary represents a $29,000 -- or nearly 9% -- pay raise over that of the previous chancellor, Timothy White, who left in 2012 to head the California State University system.
Brown said he was impressed with Wilcox’s credentials, but added “I consider the growth in inequality in California, the U.S. and the world in general a problem that is tearing apart the social fabric.”
Brown did not attend the meeting in Riverside but participated in a telephone conference call.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and regent Norman J. Pattiz joined Brown in voting against the compensation. Wilcox will also receive an annual $8,916 car allowance and a campus residence that is maintained with non-state funds.
UC President Mark G. Yudof described Wilcox as an energetic, visionary leader who would also be closely involved in the day-to-day workings of the 22,000-student campus.
Wilcox, 59, was provost of Michigan State from 2005 to July 2013, overseeing more than 200 academic programs and 49,000 students. He led a capital campaign that raised $1.4 billion and helped to increase students from underrepresented groups. Under his tenure, graduation rates increased and the percentage of students graduating with debt declined.
Before stepping down, he had been on leave from Michigan State since early 2013, serving in Washington, D.C., with the nonprofit Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.