Larry N. Vanderhoef’s Biography

Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef

After Valley Vision presented him with the 2009 Legacy of Leadership Award, Vanderhoef donated an accompanying $5,000 award to the Boys & Girls Club. Here 8-year-old Anaiya Wilson of the club's Greater Sacramento-Teichert Branch accepts the check. (Jose Luis Villegas/photo)

Larry N. Vanderhoef was appointed chancellor of the University of California, Davis, in April 1994 and transitioned to Chancellor Emeritus in August 2009. He joined the campus in 1984 as executive vice chancellor and provost.

UC Davis, with more than 33,000 students, is one of 10 UC campuses and one of a select group of 62 North American universities admitted to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU).

During his tenure as chancellor, the campus:

  • was invited to membership in the AAU;
  • increased its extramural awards from $169.1 million to $622 million annually, earning a National Science Foundation (NSF) research funding ranking of 10th in the U.S. among public universities;
  • increased private gifts from $40 million to more than $200 million a year, with more than $1 billion cumulatively raised in support of programs;
  • expanded classroom, lab, clinical and office space by 6 million square feet;
  • completed the transformation of an ailing county hospital to an academically distinguished and financially sound regional medical center;
  • made distinctive strides in recruiting a diverse and accomplished faculty and student body;
  • had its student enrollment grow from 22,000 to more than 30,000; and
  • had its faculty increase by 44 percent.

Chancellor Vanderhoef was honored by the Sacramento (California) Business Journal in 2004 as one of the 20 people who had contributed most substantially to California’s capital region over the prior 20 years. Valley Vision presented him with its 2009 Legacy of Leadership Award, and the American Leadership Forum named him a recipient of its 2014 Exemplary Leader Award.

Sacramentan of the Year

As well, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce named him Sacramentan of the Year in 2004, and the Arts and Business Council of Sacramento presented him with its Prelude to the Season Outstanding Contribution Award in 2003.

The 2006 Northern California International Leadership Award was presented to him by the Northern California World Trade Center and the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency in recognition of his efforts to increase the campus’s international engagement. Also that year, he was elected an honorary member of the World Innovation Foundation.

In 2004 he led a UC Davis delegation to Iran in an effort to promote dialogue and scholar exchange, and to promote generally the notion of crossing boundaries to build greater understanding and good will — a longstanding personal and professional effort.

He returned to Iran in November 2008 as part of a small delegation of AAU presidents. In 2009 he was awarded the Outstanding Community Award by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Researches plant growth and development

His research interests lay in the general area of plant growth and development, and in the evolution of the land-grant universities. He taught classes from freshman level to advanced graduate study.

Chancellor Vanderhoef served on various national commissions addressing graduate and international education, the role of a modern land-grant university and accrediting issues.

He held B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry from Purdue University.

Previously, he held faculty positions at the University of Illinois, where he also served as a department head, and at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was appointed provost.

Early in his career, he was named an Eisenhower Fellow, a recognition awarded to emerging leaders from around the world to promote positive relationships and interactions between countries.

He was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Purdue University and by Inje University in Korea, and an honorary professorship of China Agricultural University.