Meet Van Williams: UC Santa Cruz’s New Vice Chancellor of Information Technology

Van Williams with his youngest son, Benjamin Williams.

By Lisa Bono. Van Williams started as vice chancellor of information technology at UC Santa Cruz on July 2, 2018, replacing retired VC Mary Doyle and interim VC Brad Smith.

Van has spent much of his professional life on the East Coast, working in a multitude of roles including chief technology officer and senior director of enterprise operations and solutions at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stern, and a bachelor’s degree in classical civilization from NYU.

When asked why he made the move from NYU to UCSC, Williams said:

“I came to UC Santa Cruz because it is uniquely positioned to make a major impact on the world. Our unique position is framed by the strength of our research faculty, our innovation in interdisciplinary research and scholarship, our proximity to Silicon Valley, ‘The power of ten’ that comes from being part of the UC system, and most importantly our commitment to social impact and diversity/inclusiveness. I want to help leave the world a better place than I’ve found it. I can think of no other institution in the world that so deeply shares this goal as UCSC.”

Williams is off to an ambitious start! He’s already begun meeting with each of the 240 staff members in the ITS organization. Van is super impressed with how his new team has been offering consolidated IT services and support to the campus for over 13 years. There are so many impactful projects taking place at UCSC, and one that he’s enthusiastic about is the metamorphosis of enterprise applications by leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to better optimize IT efficiency through improved agility, stability and security.

Williams said, “It is clear to me that I am joining a team of dedicated, talented, professional, collaborative and forward thinking people who have taken the ITS organization on an amazing journey. I am excited to be their new leader. I want to help show the world the reasons why banana slugs have no known natural predators. It’s because we rock!”

In his new role, Williams plans to build upon the strategic and operational excellence of both academic and administrative information technology to support and advance all aspects of the campus mission. He’ll be conducting several listening tours over the next few months to gather feedback from all campus constituents to help guide the creation of a new ITS strategic vision, including developing relationships with UCSC alumni and Silicon Valley business partners.

Williams, his wife Kerry, and their three sons moved to Los Gatos in June. Kerry started her new job at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension on July 2.

Williams will be attending his first UCCSC at UC Davis in August. If you’re attending, make sure to say hi and give him a big California welcome!

Lisa Bono is communications manager, Information Technology Services, UC Santa Cruz.


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