Marjorie Caserio retires as UCSD vice chancellor for academic affairs

May 4, 1994

Media Contact: Warren R. Froelich, (619) 534-8564


Marjorie C. Caserio, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California, San Diego, has announced her intent to retire under the University of California's early retirement program.

Caserio, 65, who joined UCSD in 1990 from UC Irvine where she was chair of the chemistry department, will remain in her administrative post until a new vice chancellor is chosen and approved by the UC Board of Regents.

Caserio's tenure was marked by a period of fiscal and budgetary constraints that affected the entire UC system.

"Basically what I tried to do during the past four years is to assure that the campus core programs were sustained," she said. "We maintained them at a time of severe budgetary erosion."

Caserio headed a campaign effort that raised more than $1 million for graduate student fellowships. While most contributions came from individual donors in the community, UCSD faculty gave more than $120,000.

She also presided over efforts to establish an undergraduate major at UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a new major in women's studies, a department of ethnic studies and a new doctorate program in mathematics/science education.

Among her greater frustrations was the suspension, due to budget cuts, of the fledgling School of Architecture.

While at UCSD, Caserio also was selected a recipient of the 1990 "Service Through Chemistry" award from the Orange County Section of the American Chemical Society. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions in applying chemistry to solve problems of particular interest to Southern California.

Prior to joining UCSD, Caserio held several faculty positions at UC Irvine, starting as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1965 when the campus was still under construction. From 1982 to 1984, she served as chair of the Irvine division of the Academic Senate, then became chair of the full UC Academic Senate from 1985 to 1986. Caserio also served from 1984 to 1986 as the faculty representative to the UC Board of Regents.

As an educator, Caserio was considered an excellent teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students and has co-authored four textbooks in her field. During the 1960s and 1970s, one of her books was the most widely used undergraduate organic chemistry textbook in the nation.

In 1975, Caserio received the Garvan Medal of the American Chemical Society for service to the field of chemistry. Her field of interest was physical organic chemistry, where she focused on reaction mechanisms--the precise physical and chemical events that occur when one organic material is transformed into another.

The London-born scientist received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Chelsea College at the University of London in 1950. She went on to earn her master's and doctorate in organic chemistry form Bryn Mawr College, and then spent eight years at Caltech, two as a postdoctoral research fellow and six as a senior research fellow, before joining the UC Irvine faculty.

(May 4, 1994)