CCST Senior Fellow Jack Peltason Dies at 91

March 27, 2015 |   | Contact: M. Daniel DeCillis

Jack Peltason
CCST Senior Fellow Jack Peltason passed away at age 91 from Parkinson’s disease.

Former UC President and UC Irvine Chancellor Jack Peltason, a CCST Senior Fellow, has died at 91 of Parkinson’s disease.

“He was passionate that science should inform policy,” said CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood. “Jack Peltason was a true leader and a thoughtful scholar.”

During his distinguished career, Peltason served as the President of The Donald Bren Foundation, President of the University of California, Chancellor of UC Irvine and Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

An internationally respected political scientist and higher education administrator, he began his affiliation with UC in 1964, when, as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, he helped assemble the faculty for the fledging Irvine campus that opened a year later. After leaving to serve as Chancellor at the University of Illinois, Peltason returned to UC Irvine in 1984 to continue his work building the campus into the renowned research institution he had envisioned at the outset; during his eight years as Chancellor at UCI, the university underwent unprecedented physical growth, increased its enrollment, increased funding for endowed chairs and distinguished professors, and attracted major institutes, including the UC Humanities Research Institute and National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.

Peltason was also involved with CCST at its earliest stages, taking the helm at UC just four years after CCST was founded. He was one of the first Senior Fellows appointed when the program was inaugurated in 1997.

“He said he had high expectations for CCST from an early stage,” said Hackwood.

Peltason was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Missouri. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and was the author of numerous publications on U.S. government, including two widely used political texts.

From 1977 to 1984, he served as president of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., where he he championed the notion that college students meet certain academic standards before participating in sports.

Peltason is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

“He was a fine university leader and a great gentleman,” said CCST Board Chair Charles F. Kennel, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Founding Director and Chairman, International Advisory Board, Environment and Sustainability Initiative, UC San Diego. “He honored CCST by his association with us.”

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