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White House Names UC San Diego
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
National Medal of Science Recipient

Fox, a world-recognized chemist and academic leader, wins highest honor for science

October 15, 2010

By Christine Clark


President Barack Obama today named Marye Anne Fox, chancellor at the University of California, San Diego, one of the 10 eminent researchers to receive the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers and inventors.

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity,” President Obama said. “Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions.”

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox talks to a student during Welcome Week in September.

“It’s a great honor to receive this prestigious recognition, and I am humbled and proud that the contributions made by my research group have advanced organic chemistry,” said Fox.  “I was fortunate to have had brilliant and hardworking graduate students who focused on fundamental principles that were later translated into practical use in solar energy conversion, environmental remediation and material science. I truly believe that important developments in science and science education are vital for the future of this nation.”

Fox, a nationally recognized chemist and academic leader, was named the seventh chancellor of UC San Diego in April 2004. Since her appointment as chancellor, the university has established new research and partnership ventures to further innovation and increase international collaboration, achieved an ambitious $1 billion campaign goal, expanded academic and campus programs and facilities, and has received national and international recognition in prominent university rankings. This year, the university is celebrating 50 years of “Achieving the Extraordinary” with a nearly yearlong, all-encompassing commemoration.

Chancellor Fox urged Muir graduates to make a positive difference in the world during the 2009 commencement ceremonies.

“Chancellor Fox’s contributions to the field of chemistry stand out on their own, yet they are matched by her academic leadership. Either would be an accomplishment, but to excel in both realms is truly remarkable,” said Mark Thiemens, dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego.

When Chancellor Fox arrived at UC San Diego in August 2004, she pledged to increase the university's stature by building on its three pillars of strength: innovation and discovery, interdisciplinary scholarship and international leadership. With a strong commitment to advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, Fox has helped ensure UC San Diego is preparing the next generation of science leaders and innovators.  Continuing an emphasis that has shaped her remarkable career, she also vowed to expand the university’s partnerships with the private sector, lower barriers to technology transfer, and increase opportunities to create a diverse student body.

Chancellor Fox with a student at the Elementary Institute of Science in 2005.

Fox and the other recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year. The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.  Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Nominees are selected by a committee of Presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in, and contributions to, the biological, behavioral/social and physical sciences, as well as chemistry, engineering, computing and mathematics.

Fox has received numerous research and teaching awards.  From the American Chemical Society, she received the Garvan Award, the Southwest Regional Award and the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award for 2005, in recognition of outstanding public service. 

Previously, Fox was chancellor and distinguished professor of chemistry at North Carolina State University, a post she held since 1998. Before going to North Carolina, Fox spent 22 years at the University of Texas, where she advanced from assistant professor of organic chemistry to vice president for research and held the Waggoner Regents Chair in chemistry.

For information about Fox, visit http://www-chancellor.ucsd.edu/biography.html

For more information on the National Medal of Science go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/15/president-obama-honors-nations-top-scientists-and-innovators.

UC San Diego National Medal of Science Winners

Photo of Anne Artz


Media Contact: Christine Clark, 858-534-7618 or ceclark@ucsd.edu,


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