Governor Names New Regents
Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Republicans William C. De La Pena, a UC Irvine alumnus, and Bruce P. Varner to the UC Board of Regents on Aug. 18. The two men are currently pending approval by the state Senate.
The decision to appoint two Republicans to fill the vacant positions came as a surprise to some, since Schwarzenegger has, in the past, prided himself on bipartisanship and has made many nonpartisan appointments as governor.
Varner had previously donated $5,000 to Schwarzenegger’s campaign, according to an article in the ‘San Francisco Chronicle.’ At least one of Schwarzenegger’s previous appointees to the Board of Regents, Frederick Ruiz, was also a campaign donor, according to an article in the ‘San Diego Union-Tribune.’ De La Pena has not made any donations to Schwarzenegger.
After obtaining his doctorate from Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico, De La Pena interned and conducted his medical residency at UCI. De La Pena worked as a professor of ophthalmology at UCI from 1984 to 1990, and has directed the De La Pena Eye Clinic in Santa Ana since 1984. He is also the former owner of the Los Angeles Salsa soccer team.
Varner, a specialist in corporate business law, has worked as a partner for Wanter and Brandt since 1997. He is also a member of the UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara and his doctorate from the UC Hastings Law School.
‘William and Bruce uniquely understand the vital role our public universities play in giving students a world-class education so they are trained for the 21st century economy,’ Schwarzeneggar said in a press release. ‘These men are both highly respected in their fields and will be a tremendous asset in ensuring the UC system remains affordable-because because an investment in our students is an investment in California’s future.’