Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 10 , 2018, 9:18 pm | Fair 53º


Longtime UCSB Administrator Gene Lucas Readies for Retirement

After 36 years of service to the university, the executive vice chancellor plans to travel with his wife and get back into the swing of golf

Each morning used to begin with at least one or two cups of coffee, a self-prescribed pick-me-up that longtime UC Santa Barbara administrator Gene Lucas adhered to for more than three decades.

The travel mug the executive vice chancellor clutched on a recent morning in his Cheadle Hall office was sans the stuff, since Lucas gave up his caffeine fix in favor of healthier blood pressure six months ago.

The change, although minor, signaled what would inevitably come — a complete upheaval of the 62-year-old’s daily routine when he retires Dec. 31.

Lucas has served UCSB as a professor and/or administrator for the past 36 years, the last 11 in his current post. Throw in four years of undergraduate studies, and Lucas has spent well more than half of his life on campus.

Separation anxiety aside, Lucas said he’s ready to hand the university over to fully capable hands he helped hire years ago.

“It’s just a wonderful university,” he said. “I’ll miss the people. I won’t miss the problems.”

Lucas, a Los Angeles native, still recalls his first visit to UCSB, a trip to see his older sister who was a student at the time. Seven years later, Lucas enrolled there himself before graduating with a nuclear engineering degree in 1973.

He went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was set to take a teaching job there when a UCSB professor lured him back to the coastal city for an assistant professor job.

“It was a good university at the time,” he recalled. “The engineering program was just starting up. Now it’s a great university.”

For someone who never aspired to be an administrator, Lucas certainly made an impression on those who did.

Lucas counted the dozens of positions he has held at UCSB over the years on his fingers, most in the College of Engineering with titles ranging from professor and acting dean to acting university librarian and more.

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang recently commended Lucas’ work, acknowledging his deep devotion.

“His leadership will have a long-lasting impact on our campus, and we will always be grateful,” Yang said in a statement. “As he and his wife, Susan, prepare for the exciting next step in their lives, we wish them both the very best, just as they have given the very best to our campus.”

Lucas humbly agreed that he must have unknowingly developed desirable leadership traits.

He listed surviving the budget crisis of the past decade, strategic planning and guiding the re-accreditation process as highlights of his career, which has also seen UCSB rise to a No. 2 worldwide ranking for its impact on the field of science research — just behind MIT.

Lucas, a Goleta resident, said he plans to travel with his wife of 42 years during retirement, as well as more reading, walking and hiking.

“I, at one point, was good at golf,” he said, noting it has been eight years since he has held a club.

Lucas also hopes to spend more time with his three grown sons and three grandchildren, the oldest of which won’t be college-bound — but hopefully UCSB bound, he added — for 13 years.

Even if that doesn’t pan out, the Gauchos are likely to see more of Lucas.

“We’ll still only be four miles away,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.