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Local Publisher George Thurlow Named Chief Alumni Official at UC Santa Barbara

Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

The University of California, Santa Barbara has announced the appointment of George Thurlow as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the UCSB Alumni Association.

Thurlow, the longtime publisher of the Santa Barbara Independent, will assume his new duties on June 1. He succeeds Peter Steiner, who retired last year. Richard Jensen has been serving as the alumni organization's interim executive director.

In announcing the appointment, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang called Thurlow "an outstanding selection" and thanked the campus Search Advisory Committee for its efforts and its unanimous recommendation.

"George has been a tireless and dedicated volunteer and leader of our alumni for many, many years, and we appreciate his willingness to take on this new assignment as a member of our administration," said Yang. "This campus has long benefited from George's vision and wisdom, and we look forward to the contributions we know he will make in his new position."

A 1973 graduate of UCSB, Thurlow has been very involved in the leadership of the campus's alumni association for many years. He is a past president of the UCSB Alumni Association and a former member of its Board of Directors. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of The UCSB Foundation.

He recently had been elected treasurer of the Alumni Associations of the University of California and, as such, was to become one of the alumni representatives on the Board of Regents. However, as a university employee he will not be eligible to serve as a Regent.

Thurlow acknowledged that leaving the Santa Barbara Independent after 12 years and forgoing a seat on the Board of Regents made this "one of the most difficult professional decisions I've ever had to make. However, the opportunity to help build the Mosher Alumni House and to help operate what will be a jewel on the UC Santa Barbara campus was simply too good to pass up."

"As an alumnus it was always a dream to return to UC Santa Barbara," he added, "and now I'm coming back to the best job on a campus that employs some of the brightest people in the world. What more could I ask for?"

The chair of the Search Advisory Committee, Paula Yurkanis Bruice, a senior lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry and a former member of the Board of Directors of the UCSB Alumni Association, said the committee was pleased to have found someone who would be able to work well with all segments of the university. "The committee was impressed with Thurlow's professional background, his keen intelligence, and his vision for the role that alumni could play in the life of the university," she added.

John M. Wiemann, UCSB's vice chancellor for institutional advancement, said Thurlow "has long been dedicated to fostering stronger ties between alumni and UCSB, and he's also demonstrated great care and concern for how alumni continue to be connected to the university. Combining that sensibility with his entrepreneurial spirit and professional background and skills makes him an ideal choice for this position."

Thurlow has been publisher of the Santa Barbara Independent since 1994. Earlier in his career he served on the faculty of California State University, Chico, where he taught journalism and was adviser to the student newspaper. As a journalist, he worked as editor of the weekly Chico News & Review, a reporter at the Woodland Daily Democrat, and as a reporter and editor of the now defunct Santa Barbara News & Review. His work as a freelance reporter has appeared in more than a dozen newspapers and magazines.

In Santa Barbara, Thurlow has been active in leadership roles with many community organizations. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, and Partners in Education. He also is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of Pacific Broadcasting Co., which operates KDB, Santa Barbara's classical music radio station.

Among his many professional affiliations, he is treasurer of the Board of Directors of the California Newspaper Publishers Association and chair of the board of the association's foundation. He is also chair of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Springs Newspaper Group.