Richard Chatham Atkinson
(born 19 March 1929) is an American professor of psychology and academic administrator. He is the former president and regent of the University of California
system, and former chancellor of U.C. San Diego
Atkinson started out as a professor of psychology
at Stanford University
, where he worked with Patrick Suppes
on experiments in which they tried to use computers
to teach math and reading to young children in Palo Alto elementary schools
. The Education Program for Gifted Youth
at Stanford is a descendant of those early experiments.
Eventually, Atkinson transitioned from research to a career in administration, and went on to serve as Director of the National Science Foundation
, Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego
, and President of the University of California system.
Atkinson is widely recognized for his scientific, academic, and administrative accomplishments. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. He is past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former chair of the Association of American Universities, the recipient of many honorary degrees. A mountain in Antarctica, and Atkinson Hall, the home of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UC San Diego, are named in his honor.