Dean E. McHenry, 1910-1998

A 1966 portait of McHenry by Ansel Adams


Dean E. McHenry, founding chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, died on March 17 at the age of 87. Before becoming UCSC's first chancellor, McHenry had been a driving force behind the growth of California's multitiered system of public higher education. "As both an architect of UC Santa Cruz and an advocate for a system of public higher education that served all students, Dean McHenry literally touched the lives of generations of Californians," noted M.R.C. Greenwood, UCSC's current chancellor.

McHenry's career began at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he taught government. Joining the political science faculty at UCLA in 1939, he authored The American Federal Government, The American System of Government, and other books.

Almost 20 years later, he went to work for UC President Clark Kerr. With Kerr, McHenry helped draft California's Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960--a blueprint that defined specific roles for the state's three systems of higher education and provided a vision of a low-cost education that would be accessible to all Californians.

Appointed chancellor of UCSC in July 1961, Dean McHenry began his 13-year tenure as head of the campus a little more than four years before UCSC opened with a class of 650 students. When he retired in June 1974, the student body totaled 5,000.

"Dean was an originator," said John Dizikes, professor of American studies at UCSC. "There are few people who have such an opportunity and even fewer people who realize the opportunity."

Posing for a Time magazine publicity still in 1962 (Photo: Vester Dick/Covello & Covello)


Dean and Jane McHenry in 1997 in the courtyard of UCSC's McHenry Library (Photo: Greg Pio)