Daniel Gaskill Aldrich, Jr. (July 12, 1918 – April 9, 1990) was the founding chancellor at the University of California, Irvine from 1962 to 1984. He was Acting Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside from 1984 to 1985, and Acting Chancellor at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1986 to 1987.
Daniel Aldrich received a B.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island for Agriculture in 1939. He then received a M.S. at the University of Arizona in 1941. He met Jean Hamilton, his wife-to-be, during his time there. He received his Ph.D by continuing his studies of soil chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in 1943. In 1944 he began his association with the University of California system. In 1955 he was appointed chair of Soils departments at the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis. In 1958 he was appointed the dean of Agriculture for the University of California. In 1962 Clark Kerr selected him to be the founding Chancellor of UCI.
Time as Chancellor
As Chancellor, Daniel Aldrich was responsible for creating the campus from blueprints to an academic institution within 3 years. His background of agriculture influenced his design to make the campus environmentally friendly. This environmental groundwork contributes to UCI's high ranking green program today. Aldrich was responsible for actively recruiting the first faculty and students that would be at UCI. William Pereira was one of the first faculty whom he recruited. Together they planned the 21 acre park that sits in the middle of campus today, along with many other buildings.
He was officially inaugurated as the first chancellor on May 20, 1965. Students decorated the school's library to celebrate the event. Students called him "Chancellor Dan" and his door was always open to their concerns.
Aldrich retired as Chancellor of UCI in 1984. The Regents of the University of California named the park in the middle of campus "Aldrich Park" in his honor. He was called on to be the acting Chancellor for UCR from 1984-1985. He was called on again to serve as Acting Chancellor for UCSB from 1986-1987. He remained involved in athletics throughout his retirement including coaching Little League Baseball and winning medals in the Senior Olympics. In 2007 the Administration Building was named Aldrich Hall.
He died on April 9, 1990. He served the University of California for 47 years.