Since 2008, Mark G. Yudof has led the 10-campus University of California system through a dramatic period of budget cuts and tuition hikes but also of widening financial aid and solid academic reputation. A constitutional scholar with a sardonic wit and a fondness for Tex-Mex food, Yudof recently announced he will step down in August and become a law professor at UC Berkeley. He cited gallbladder surgery and a broken arm over the last year or so and said it was a good time to leave since UC would be financially stronger with extra tax revenue approved by California voters in November. Yudof, who previously led public universities in Texas and Minnesota and is paid $591,000 annually at UC, visited The Times last week for an interview. This is an edited version of that conversation:
Your resignation announcement said your health problems were "largely overcome." So why retire?
It's not that I'm physically incapable. I'm feeling OK now. I will be 69 in October. I had these health problems and I've overcome them. But it focused my attention on my overall lifestyle. It's time to go back to being a law professor and seeing my family.
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