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The menu of adjectives for Mark G. Yudof is pure Michelin: brilliant, visionary, outstanding, amazing, unique.
A University of California Board of Regents panel has tapped him to succeed Bob Dynes as president of what is routinely called the most prestigious university system in the world.
He's a Philadelphia-educated lawyer. He ran the University of Minnesota system. And he's being pulled away -- media salary guesstimates hover at more than $750,000 -- from the top spot at the University of Texas. (His "favorite teams," presumably, will have gone from Quakers to Golden Gophers to Longhorns to Bears.)
The only smudge on his accolades came from a Texas faculty association leader who said he gravitated to the high-profile programs, and didn't get out into the boonies much.
He's got plenty of his plates: budgets and programs to cut, bureaucrats to dislodge and system critics to mollify. The risk, of course, is that low-profile UC Merced will be pushed to the rim of the resource table and the need to create a Valley medical school will be word-played into a cubbyhole.
Folks in Texas report Yudof is a big believer in accountability, saying: "If it moves, we measure it." Folks in Minnesota say he loves pancakes.
Well, a Valley tour from Stockton to Bakersfield (lingering in Fresno, where Community Medical Centers would be a UC med school's biggest educational partner) is roughly akin to driving from Dallas to San Antonio.
And, as the nation's agricultural pantry, we've got a Zagat-tier of pancakes to offer. Not to mention incomparable side dishes of potential Ph.D.'s and Nobel Laureates.
It will be interesting to see how (not whether) Yudof separates maple syrup from the high-fructose slatherings coming his way.