UC San Diego’s new chancellor, Pradeep Khosla, digs in on his first day at work

UC San Diego’s eighth chancellor started work at the La Jolla campus Wednesday, meeting with alumni and incoming freshmen.

Pradeep Khosla, 55, was the dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering when he was tapped to succeed Marye Anne Fox, who stepped down to return to her roots as a chemistry professor. The 64-year-old Fox will remain at UCSD.

Khosla’s first day included a video conference with alumni on beginning a new career, speaking to incoming freshman engineering students, holding a news conference and touring the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.

He told 10News that engaging alumni will be a major priority, since private giving will have to offset reductions in state funding. Still, his first order of business is simply finding his way around campus.

“As you know, this is a very large, complex place,’' Khosla told the station. “It’s one of the largest universities in the country.’'

Khosla, a married father of three who was born in India, emerged as the leading candidate in an international search. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and has won several major engineering awards.

Khosla has written three books and numerous articles. His undergraduate degree in electrical engineering was from the Indian Institute of Technology, and he earned his master’s and doctorate at Carnegie Mellon.

He is set to make $411,084 annually, almost $20,000 more than Fox, who led UCSD for eight years.

Under Fox, the university earned respectable national and international rankings, raised a record amount of money and embarked on a building program while dealing with steep state funding cuts.

During her tenure, the school was also rocked by months of racial strife in 2010 after a fraternity held an event called the “Compton Cookout,’' prompting blacks and other minorities to protest what they felt was an uncomfortable campus environment.

The school reached an agreement with the U.S Justice Department and Department of Education in April to review policies to make sure they conform to federal civil rights codes, open an office to receive, investigate and resolve harassment claims, and provide mandatory training to employees and students on discrimination and harassment.

--City News Service