Calif. professor in line to replace Kirwan at UM Berkeley's Mote hailed for academics and fund-raising; 'Brilliant,' UM official says


A vice chancellor and distinguished engineering professor who is an accomplished fund-raiser at the University of California, Berkeley, is expected to become the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park, sources said last night.

Clayton Daniel Mote Jr., vice chancellor of university relations and a longtime professor of mechanical engineering at Berkeley, was expected to be introduced today as the new president of UM's flagship campus, according to sources.

Donald N. Langenberg, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, would not confirm Mote's selection, but said there would be an announcement today. Mote, known as Dan, was said by his office to be out of town and unreachable last night.

He would succeed William E. "Brit" Kirwan, who leaves College Park this month to become president of Ohio State University. Kirwan could not be reached for comment.

Jesus Mena, director of media relations at Berkeley, said the California institution could not confirm Mote's departure.

Mote, 61, is an outstanding researcher and capable administrator at one of the top-ranked research universities in the country, according to those who know him.

"He's got the right balance of technical competence and leadership that would make him a top administrator," said Professor Werner Goldsmith, a longtime colleague of Mote's in Berkeley's mechanical engineering department.

Mote appears to fit the criteria given to the 18-member search committee appointed this year to find a successor to Kirwan, president of College Park for the past 10 years and a member of the mathematics faculty there for 33 years.

Langenberg charged the search panel with finding someone "who can pick up where Brit left off" in leading the flagship of the 11-campus university system. The new president needs to be accomplished in fund-raising, but also capable in research and administration.

"He's brilliant," said a Maryland official who met Mote during the selection process.

Introduction tomorrow

Mote is to be introduced at lunch tomorrow in College Park to the presidents of the other state colleges and universities.

Word of his selection began to spread last night across the campus, which is still in the process of bidding farewell to Kirwan.

"I can't tell you how delighted I am that he's an engineer," said William Destler, dean of the A. James Clark Engineering School. Destler added that he was glad Kirwan's successor had been found so quickly "because the campus has been on such an upswing."

Founded in 1849, the University of California, Berkeley, is widely considered one of the top public universities in the country -- a stature to which College Park aspires. The National Research Council ranked Berkeley's faculty in the top 10 in 35 out of 36 academic programs, including eight engineering specialties.

Mote has spent most of his adult life at the California school. He received his bachelor's degree in 1959, his masters in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1963, all from Berkeley. He has been on the faculty there for 31 years. He was chairman of mechanical engineering for five years, and has been vice chancellor for university relations since 1991.

'Tough competition'

As one of five vice chancellors at Berkeley, Mote supervises tTC fund-raising, government relations and public affairs for the 30,000-student campus. Six years ago, he designed and launched a seven-year, $1.1 billion campaign that has raised $765 million so far -- more than the $700 million that the entire University System of Maryland is now trying to raise.

John Ford, vice president for development at Stanford University, said that while he doesn't know Mote personally, he has observed his successes running Berkeley's billion-dollar fund-raising campaign.

"He's tough competition. My impression is that he's done a terrific job putting this campaign together," Ford said. Berkeley is among the first public institutions to run a billion-dollar campaign.

While overseeing the fund drive, Mote has continued his engineering research and supervised the work of graduate students and other post-doctoral scholars. In the late 1960s, he founded the Dynamic Stability Laboratory, which initially worked develop thinner and safer saws. That research has broadened to include high-speed disk drives, magnetic tapes and other industrial systems.

He also has specialized in preventing knee injuries in snow skiing. He and his students have designed safer ski bindings.

Mote won Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching award in 1971, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has more than 200 publications, nearly 80 research reports and at least four patents. In 1997, he was elected -- along with his colleague Goldsmith -- as an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International.

Mote and his wife, Patricia, have two grown children.

Pub Date: 6/02/98

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