University of California, Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox Named Winner of 2023 ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award
April 14, 2023

​ACE today awarded Kim A. Wilcox, chancellor of University of California, Riverside, with the 2023 ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award at ACE2023, the Council’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

The Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award is bestowed annually to acknowledge the substantial role of mentors in the success of ACE Fellows Program participants. Wilcox, a former Fellow himself, has mentored four Fellows.

Since its inception in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions and leadership in American postsecondary education by identifying and preparing over 2,500 faculty and administrators for senior positions in higher education leadership. More than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as chief executive officers of colleges or universities, provosts, vice presidents, and deans.

“Chancellor Wilcox’s former mentees have for good reason described him as an inspirational mentor and generous leader deeply committed to higher education,” said Juanita Banks, director, ACE Fellows Program. “As a Fellows Program alum, he is an exemplary mentor who is intentional in his support of the ACE Fellows Program, and steadfastly committed to uplifting future higher education leaders.”

Left to right: Kenya Ayers-Palmore, president of Tarrant County College District's Northeast Campus and chair of the ACE Council of Fellows; Kim A. Wilcox; and Debra Frey, Fidelity Investments.

“The work of mentoring is a reward in itself,” Wilcox said. “I am grateful to my mentees for this meaningful honor but also for the experience of working with them. As an ACE Fellow, I gained critical knowledge and skills that serve me to this day. Serving as a mentor allows me to give back in part what I have received.”

Since 2013, Wilcox has served as the ninth chancellor of UC Riverside, a public institution of more than 26,000 students. During his tenure, UC Riverside has seen transformative growth across its education, research, and public service missions.

A graduate of the ACE Fellows program (1996-1997), he has mentored four Fellows: Elizabeth A Heise, assistant vice provost for faculty affairs, University of Texas, Arlington; Audrey Bilger, president, Reed College; Stephan R. Walk, professor and chair, department of kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton; and Yuqing Melanie Wu, vice president for academic affairs and dean, Pomona College.

As UC Riverside’s chief executive, Wilcox has led expansive growth in research, enrollment, graduation rates, and physical development. The university has added schools of medicine and public policy; increased enrollment by more than 25 percent; and increased the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of incoming faculty members. Additionally, the campus has added more than 2 million square feet in leading-edge laboratory facilities, state-of-the-art classrooms, and residential and dining facilities.

Wilcox has brought his leadership to a variety of alliances and organizations as well. He was one of the founding leaders of the University Innovation Alliance and the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. He serves on the Council of Competitiveness and on boards for numerous organizations, including the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and Climate Leadership Network.

Wilcox has over 40 years of experience in higher education. He was a provost at Michigan State University from 2005 to 2013. Wilcox also previously served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, and chair of the Department of Speech-Language Hearing at the University of Kansas.

A first-generation college graduate, Wilcox attended Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor of arts in audiology and speech sciences. He also holds master’s and doctoral degrees in speech and hearing science from Purdue University.

“The leadership and accomplishments that Chancellor Wilcox has exemplified over the course of his career is so impressive, and we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to work with him as a mentor in the ACE Fellows Program,” says Sangeeta Moorjani, executive vice president at Fidelity Investments. “The resounding praise we have heard from his mentees, both of his uplifting demeanor and his commitment to pushing the boundaries in higher education, make him an incredibly worthy recipient of the Council of Fellows Mentor Award.”

Since 2008, Fidelity Investments has been a generous supporter of the ACE Fellows Program, empowering the Council of Fellows to provide support for the discretionary fund of the Mentor Award winner’s institution, as well as the Fellows Fund for the Future, which provides stipends to help cover costs of sponsoring a Fellow for qualified institutions.

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