Tributes

“My wife and I will never forget the Saturday morning 10 years ago when the chancellor and his wife, Rosalie, who must have had very few Saturdays to themselves, drove to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento to visit our infant son, Mick, who was in the neonatal ICU struggling mightily in the first few days of his life. That gesture cut straight to our hearts. And until Mick was finally able to come home, Larry would check in daily on his progress.”

—    Bob Dunning, columnist, The Davis Enterprise

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“During my two terms as campus Academic Senate chair, and systemwide Academic Senate chair, I worked closely with Chancellor Vanderhoef beginning when he was the executive vice chancellor. While we had our differences on occasion, Larry was always a wonderful and trustworthy negotiation partner and a person whom I always respected and admired. Of all of the UC administrators with whom I have worked, I think Larry understood the workings of the Academic Senate better than anyone else. The consequence, of course, was that he was able to successfully work with the Senate (might I say use the Senate?) to accomplish his goals for the Davis campus, which thrived as a result of his leadership.”

—    Daniel Simmons, professor emeritus of law; and former chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate (1991-93 and 2004-06)

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“In addition to the arts and sciences, Chancellor Vanderhoef was a firm believer in the power of academic diplomacy. While at UC Davis, he promoted study abroad programs and the importance of international engagement in the Middle East. He believed that being exposed to new cultures and new ways of thinking can foster dialogue and greater understanding.”

—    Rep. John Garamendi, whose district includes UC Davis, in remarks entered in the Congressional Record

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“Dr. Vanderhoef was a pioneer in promoting educational exchange and academic diplomacy between the United States and the Islamic Republic Iran, leading a UC-Davis delegation to Iran in 2004 and another broader American academic delegation in 2008. His efforts to promote U.S.-Iranian educational exchange were inspirational, and we deeply appreciate his own longstanding support for the Department of State’s efforts in this regard.”

—    U.S. Department of State, Office of Iranian Affairs

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“He led the campus through the most difficult budget reductions in the '90s, reinvigorated the relationship between the city of Davis and the campus, hired extraordinary faculty and senior staff, and with the Mondavi Center created a lasting legacy for UC Davis and the region. He was both principled and pragmatic, as well as politically astute. No one person has made a greater imprint on what we today know as a very special university, a gem in our region. But his greatest impact may have been on the tone he set for human interaction at the university and our public discourse. No matter who you were, an employee, student, academic colleague, elected official, international honoree, he treated one and all with respect and understanding. That is a legacy we will all need to work hard to continue.”

Lois Wolk, state senator (and before that a member of the Assembly); and former Davis mayor and City Council member

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"I had frequent meetings with Larry when I was senate chair and nothing dominated our conversations more than the slow and steady erosion of the master plan (California Master Plan for Higher Education). Larry was an educator at his core committed to the undeniable link between education and quality of life and deeply proud of the accomplishments of our alumni.”

— Linda Bisson, professor (she holds the Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology); and former chair, Academic Senate (2006-08 and 2011-12)

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“Larry was definitely ‘one of the good guys’ — he accomplished so much for UC Davis and he always managed to do that in a highly principled way. Working with him was a delight, both personally and professionally, for me and so many others. Larry and Rosalie together have been a powerful force in making a positive difference.”

Virginia Hinshaw, former provost and executive vice chancellor (2001-07), who left UC Davis to become chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (2007-12)

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“Working with Larry in an administrative position afforded me opportunities to see him make some difficult decisions. One characteristic that I believe contributed to his effectiveness as a leader was that he appreciated the ‘devil’s advocate’ approach in discussions. Even when he disagreed, he listened, and he made discussants feel that their comments were valued. I repeatedly saw this in his meetings with students, with faculty and with his administrative colleagues.”

Barbara Horwitz, distinguished professor, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology; and former vice provost, Academic Affairs (2001-11), and interim provost and executive vice chancellor (2007-08)

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“Larry Vanderhoef was many things over the course of his richly productive life — a pragmatic visionary, an academic diplomat, a tireless institution builder who devoted himself to realizing the potential of an extraordinary intellectual community. His legacy is reflected today in UC Davis’ status as one of the nation’s leading universities.

— Richard Atkinson, former UC president (1995-2003) and UC San Diego chancellor (1980-95)

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“Larry Vanderhoef was one of those rare leaders in American higher education who approached every challenge with the best interests of students and the community in mind. I had the honor of working with him for more than two decades and can think of no more gracious and elegant leader than Larry. His contributions were enormous and he never sought credit for his good works."

— Brice Harris, chancellor, California Community Colleges (since 2012); and former chancellor, Los Rios Community College District (1997-2012)