University of California, Los Angeles Chancellor Gene Block will be stepping down after a 17-year tenure as the head of the university, UCLA announced on Thursday.
During his time as chancellor, Block helped steer the Westwood campus through a global pandemic, a financial crisis in 2008, and helped the university expand its enrollment diversity, philanthropy and research, the university said in a news release.
“Since I became chancellor 16 years ago, UCLA has been my community and my home, a source of endless inspiration, and an indelible part of who I am,” Block said in a statement. “Serving as the leader of our university has been the greatest honor of my life.”
While Block’s tenure has been filled with many accomplishments, such as the opening of UCLA Downtown and UCLA South Bay, there was a major controversy. Last October, James Heaps, a former gynecologist at UCLA, was found guilty on five counts in a sexual abuse case.
Dr. Heaps was a longtime gynecologist at the university and was indicted on multiple counts each of sexual battery by fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual penetration of an unconscious person by fraudulent representation in 2021, the Associated Press reported.
Heaps was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Block will return to his UCLA faculty position as a researcher in sleep cycles and circadian rhythms when his tenure officially ends on July 13, 2024, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The UC Office of the President will begin a national search for UCLA’s next chancellor, a news release said.