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David N. Sheldon, Longtime UCSB Vice Chancellor, Dies in Santa Barbara at Age 61

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

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David N. Sheldon

David N. Sheldon, vice chancellor for administrative services at UC Santa Barbara from 1988 to 2001, died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on Oct. 13. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. He was 61.

A veteran administrator, he had served the University of California system for 34 years before retiring from UCSB in 2001. As vice chancellor for administrative services, he was responsible for overseeing a large array of functions at UCSB, including accounting and business services, audit services, campus design and construction, facilities management, computing, staff personnel, public safety, student housing and dining services, environmental health and safety, and the University Center and UCSB Bookstore.

"David was an outstanding leader and a beloved member of our campus community," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "His work and his relations with people were characterized by integrity and humanity. He helped make UCSB a better place, and the results of his hard work and dedication---during a period of extraordinary growth and development for this campus---continue to be felt."

Sheldon's wife, Beverly, who survives him, was head of the UCSB Visitor Center when the couple retired from the university in 2001. They were married 41 years and have a daughter, Stacey Sheldon, of Ukiah, Calif., who was a senior at UCSB when her father was appointed vice chancellor.

Everett Kirkelie, associate vice chancellor for administrative and auxiliary services, said that Sheldon would be dearly missed. "David graced the life of everyone in administrative services with his compassion, tolerance, and sense of humor. Working with him every day was a joy. He gave a lot of trust to those he worked with on a daily basis; he created a wonderful feeling of family for those who worked with him."

Before being appointed vice chancellor at UC Santa Barbara in 1988, Sheldon had spent 22 years at UC Irvine, where he had served in a variety of positions, including director of computing and telecommunications and associate vice chancellor for administrative and business services. He also taught a course each year for Irvine's Information and Computer Science Department from 1980 to 1987.

Born in San Jose, Sheldon was a third-generation Californian. His family settled in Hollister.

At UCSB, he was known for his warmth and sincerity, as well as a fondness for bow ties. An avid cyclist, he often commuted to the campus by bicycle from his Santa Barbara home.

William Ashby, provost of the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, recalled Sheldon as "a long-time friend and faithful supporter of the College. David loved interacting with our students and frequently attended events in the College. His sage advice and unfailing good cheer will be sorely missed.

The College of Creative Studies has lost a good friend, and so have I."

Chemistry professor Richard Watts, a faculty leader who served as chair of the Academic Senate from 1998 to 2002, recalled Sheldon's tireless efforts to see that UCSB employees were offered the same quality of healthcare benefits as employees on UC campuses that had medical centers. "He represented us in the complex healthcare arena with an outstanding level of integrity, understanding, and effectiveness," said Watts. "This was a very small segment of the vast area of administrative services that he managed as vice chancellor, but it was one of his passions to always try to ensure that our employees received the best benefits that could be secured. He will be missed."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Sheldon is survived by two sisters: Sharon Bettencourt of Fork Rock, Oregon, and Deborah Moore of Dallas.

A memorial service is planned for Sunday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, 300 West Pueblo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.