OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is starting her new job as president of the University of California Monday in a low-profile fashion, a university spokesman said.

Napolitano, who will work out of UC’s headquarters in Oakland, is declining media interviews and doesn’t plan to schedule any public events in her first few weeks, UC Office of the President spokesman Steve Montiel said.

Instead, Napolitano will “hit the ground running” and “concentrate on getting work done,” reviewing budgets and operations and meeting with students, faculty, staff, campus chancellors, state elected officials and others, Montiel said.

Napolitano, 55, who is UC’s 20th president, will greet staff at her office’s headquarters this afternoon, he said. The UC Board of Regents appointed her in July.

She is succeeding Mark Yudof, who stepped down from the post after five years and will become a law professor at UC Berkeley. She is the first woman to serve as UC president.

Napolitano was twice elected governor of Arizona and headed the Department of Homeland Security from January 2009 until earlier this year.

As the head of the UC system, Napolitano will oversee 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories.

In a note to students, faculty and staff, Napolitano said, “It is my intent, beginning today, to serve as the strongest advocate possible for the University of California, ready to stand up at every opportunity on its behalf in any venue that will have me.”

She said, “I bring many things with me to California, beginning with an unshakeable belief in the transformative power of education. I also bring a deep appreciation for the greatness of this university and for what that has meant, and will mean, for the past, present and future of the state, nation and the world.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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