The UC Board of Regents officially confirmed the appointment and salary of UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox during a special meeting today. “I am humbled, honored, but mostly proud and excited about this chance. The University of California (UC) has a long proud tradition of providing access to world-class education and I believe the UC should be particularly proud of upholding and developing that tradition,” said Wilcox.

At the onset of the discussion, Chair of the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee and UC President Mark Yudof gave his full confidence in Wilcox.

“Dr. Kim Wilcox possesses an unwavering commitment to academic inquiry and research and considerable top-tier administrative experience,” said Yudof. “Riverside remains one of the most diverse in the country. The medical school and school of public policy demands a visionary leader, who is also closely involved in the day-to-day workings of campus.”

Serving as the Vice President of Michigan State University from 2005-2013, Wilcox assisted with the growth of two community-based medical schools there. At the meeting, he commented on the UCR School of Medicine, which he says is “designed to build on the strengths of the university, that’s preexisting, and to take advantage of the resources in the Inland Empire.”

The UCR School of Medicine received its accreditation back in Nov. 2012 through local fundraising efforts, which amounted to $100 million. The funds will help support continuing operations within the medical school for a decade on.

Wilcox will receive an annual compensation of $354,000, which is a $29,000 and 9.8 percent increase from former UCR Chancellor Timothy White’s salary.

Midway through the meeting, minor contentions later arose when Gov. Jerry Brown opposed Wilcox’s raised compensation, despite being ultimately approved. Brown, along with two other voting members, casted a nay vote to the compensation, but supported the unanimous approval of the appointment. Brown cited his goals to change the “growth and inequality” in the increasing compensation gap, as motivation behind his opposing vote.

In reaction to the dissenting opinions, President Yudof said, “We’re at the lower end of the distribution of compensation [for chancellors] and it’s unreasonable to expect people to work way below market levels.”

UC Regent and Chancellor Search Advisory Committee member Bruce Varner stated that Wilcox’s administrative qualifications at the University of Kansas and Michigan State University—both American Association of Universities-approved institutions—and community experience, make him “an easy choice.”

“What we’re looking for is someone who does not only have the background to deal with the new medical school but someone who also knew how to deal with the students,” said Varner.

As Wilcox was welcomed on stage, he praised the continuing synergy between research and teaching on campus. “Too often though in higher education, we find ourselves pitying research and teaching, our access begins falling [along with] our tradition against innovation. UCR has proven that those dichotomies do not even exist…in fact they’re in synergy here,” he said. “But every university can become better and great universities can become even greater and that’s what I see at the University of California, Riverside.”

Wilcox will be succeeding UCR’s acting chancellor, Jane Conley, who served for seven months. She will return to her prior position as the dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education on Aug. 19, when Wilcox will begin his term.