Retirement of Michael Arias
July 18, 2018
Michael R. Arias, who has served as a UCI staff member for nearly 40 years and as my chief of staff since I arrived five years ago, recently informed me that he intends to retire from the university on Nov. 1.
Mike joined UCI in 1979, starting in the support staff for the School of Physical Sciences. Two years later, he became director of the academic budget until 1990, when he was named assistant dean of the School of Social Sciences. In 1998, he was recruited by then-Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost William Lillyman to be associate executive vice chancellor and chief of staff.
When I arrived as provost and executive vice chancellor in 2013, Mike played a critical role in helping me become quickly and successfully acclimated. I relied greatly on his deep knowledge of the university and insightful advice. Upon my appointment as chancellor in September 2014, I asked Mike to be my associate chancellor and chief of staff.
As one of my principal advisers, Mike has played a major role in every significant initiative in recent years, including the development of our strategic plan, the establishment of the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, the creation of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, the gift of the Buck Collection of California art, the construction of two student housing complexes and the Anteater Learning Pavilion, and the planning for the Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Building. He also serves on the UCI Foundation board of trustees and the Chief Executive Roundtable, demonstrating admirable skill in connecting with our external partners. His decades of contributions have been enormously valuable and will benefit UCI for generations to come.
When Mike received the Lauds & Laurels Staff Achievement Award in 2001, the citation stated that “staff, faculty and administration marvel at his positive influence on campus.” Truer words were never written. In every position that Mike held, he made UCI a better place. He and his wife, Linda, herself a longtime staff member, are enthusiastic members of the Chancellor’s Club. A proud alumnus, earning his bachelor’s degree in social sciences magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Mike is secretary of the UCI Phi Beta Kappa chapter. His many contributions have been recognized by the UCI Summer Academic Enrichment Program and the UCI Association of Hispanic Women, among other groups. His outstanding talents led to his selection to participate in the UC Leadership Conference in 2000 and the UC Senior Leadership Institute in 2007.
Both personally and professionally, I am going to miss having Mike at my side when he leaves us for his well-earned retirement. I know you join me in wishing him and Linda all the best in this next phase of his life.
Chancellor Howard Gillman