Janet Napolitano to head UC campuses including UC Merced

FRESNO, Calif.

Napolitano is resigning to become president of the ten campus University of California system, which includes UC Merced.

55- Year-old Napolitano is a former Arizona governor and Attorney General. She was appointed Homeland Security Secretary by President Obama in 2008. She led the Department of Homeland Security through a host of policy changes in the era after the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Friday Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was nominated to become the next president of the University of California system. In a statement, Napolitano says she looks forward playing "a role in educating our nation's next generation of leaders." The news of her nomination spread across the country and here in the Valley.

" I think she brings enormous talent to the university of ca with its 10 campuses, as former governor of Arizona as sec of homeland for 4 years now," said Fresno Congressman Jim Costa.

Costa says higher education is one of the crown jewels of California and needs a top leader. He says Napolitano brings a wealth of experience and contacts that could be beneficial to the UC school system and UC Merced.

"That we will get her out to UC Merced soon to see what the newest campus in the UC system is doing and that is he will look upon favorably as we try to get a medical school," Costa.

UC Merced has 6,000 students and is growing. Leaders hope she will be a passionate and persuasive president. UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland says " Napolitano will bring a tremendous wealth of unique experience to the UC, and I personally look forward to working with her. "

If Napolitano is elected the next president, she will also be the first female president of the UC system. The full board of regents will act on the recommendation Thursday, July 18th. It is not clear whom Obama may be considering to replace her. Senator Charles Schumer, a leading democrat from New York says he wants to Obama to nominate New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly.

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