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MIT Technology Review

Denice Denton '82

Champion of Diversity and Excellence

November 14, 2006

Denice Denton, who served as chancellor at the University of California, Santa Cruz from early 2005 until her death on June 24, was a tireless champion of diversity and excellence–“a trailblazer in pursuit of equity and multiculturalism,” as UC president Robert Dynes put it. Born in Texas in 1959, she earned four electrical-engineering degrees at MIT: SB, SM, EE, and PhD. She was the first female dean of a U.S. engineering school, holding that post at the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1996 to 2005. Denton won numerous teaching awards as a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and elsewhere. In 1992 she earned a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and in 2004 was among nine scholars honored by the White House with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. This year Denton won the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award for her leadership in advancing women and girls in science-related careers and her creative strategies to build mentoring networks.

Denice Denton, ‘82