University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Chancellor Receives Award From Caltech

UCR Chancellor Córdova Receives Honor from California Institute of Technology

Distinguished Alumni Awards Bestowed on Graduates for Achievements and Accomplishments of Note in Science, Business, Engineering and the Arts

(April 11, 2007)

Chancellor France Córdova

Chancellor France Córdova

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( University of California, Riverside Chancellor France Córdova has been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the California Institute of Technology.

Córdova, who received her doctorate in physics from Caltech in 1979, was selected for the prestigious award by members of the faculty, an alumni committee and the board of trustees.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is considered the highest honor Caltech bestows on graduates and recognizes the recipient’s achievements and accomplishments. Córdova's research focuses on observational and experimental astrophysics, X-ray and gamma-ray sources, and space-borne instrumentation.

“Because of her numerous achievements in government, in research and in education, Dr. Córdova represents the quality of graduates that Caltech hopes to acknowledge with this award,” said Andy Shaindlin, executive director of Caltech’s Alumni Association.

An internationally recognized astrophysicist, Córdova, graduated cum laude from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in English. After receiving her doctorate, she worked as a staff scientist with the space astronomy and astrophysics group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1979 to 1989, where she also served as deputy group leader. She headed the department of astronomy and astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University from 1989 to 1993, and served as chief scientist at NASA from 1993 to 1996 where she was the youngest person and the first woman to hold that position. She was professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara from 1996 until she became the seventh chancellor of UC Riverside in 2002. Córdova also holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside and teaches Astrobiology.

“This award is a wonderful surprise,” Córdova said. “Caltech is where I was able to develop my passion for science and the stars and it will always be a special place for me.”

Córdova’s honors include NASA's Distinguished Service Medal; an honorary doctorate from Loyola Marymount University; and the Kilby Prize, named after Nobel laureate and integrated-circuit inventor Jack St. Clair Kilby and honoring contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention, and education.

She will be honored on May 19 at a ceremony at Caltech.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links