Senate Source

June 2010

George BlumenthalBlumenthal Receives 2010 Oliver Johnson Award


UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal is the 2010 recipient of the Oliver Johnson Award for Distinguished Service to the Academic Senate.

Chancellor Blumenthal served as Systemwide Academic Senate Chair in 2004-2005 and was faculty representative to the UC Regents from 2003 to 2005, He also served as chair of the UCSC divisional Senate from 2001 to 2003, chair of the UCSC Committee on Privilege and Tenure, and chair of the systemwide Committee on Privilege and Tenure. He was appointed UCSC chancellor in September 2007 following the death of Chancellor Denice Denton and is the fourth former systemwide Academic Senate chair to serve as a UC chancellor.

“I have long believed that UC's system of shared governance is a major factor contributing to our University's excellence,” he said. “For that reason, my senate service, both on my campus and at the systemwide level, has been both an enormously gratifying and an educational experience for me. I am deeply honored that my senate colleagues have chosen me for the Oliver Johnson award.”


“George Blumenthal’s contribution to the Academic Senate and the University as a whole is enormous,” said Academic Senate Chair Harry Powell. “He is perceived by many people throughout the university as an extraordinary figure. His contributions both in Santa Cruz and at the systemwide level have won him a reputation for wisdom and substance, and for many Senate leaders he is the ‘go to’ person routinely sought for advice and counsel.”


Chancellor Blumenthal is also professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Santa Cruz, where he has been on the faculty since 1972. As a theoretical astrophysicist, his research encompasses several broad areas, including the nature of the dark matter which constitutes most of the mass in the Universe, the origin of galaxies and other large structures in the Universe, and the structure of active galactic nuclei such as quasars. He has also served as department chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics.


Professor Oliver JohnsonOliver Johnson, was a UC Riverside professor of philosophy and longtime Senate activist. He served as the chair of the Assembly and Academic Council in 1981-82; as vice chair of the Assembly and Council in 1980-81; and as chair of the Riverside Senate Division from 1963 to 1966, performing with great distinction in all those posts. In 1996, Professor Johnson made a substantial gift to the systemwide Senate, the earnings from which are used to fund the award that bears his name. The Oliver Johnson Award is given every other year to honor a University of California faculty member or members who have demonstrated outstanding and creative contributions to shared governance at the divisional and systemwide level. Professor Johnson passed away in 2000.