On January 5, 1998, Barry Munitz, currently chancellor of the California State University, will become president and chief executive officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust, of which the GCI is a part. He will succeed Harold M. Williams, who has held the post since 1981 and has overseen the expansion of the Getty Trust and the creation and completion of the Getty Center.
"Barry brings to the Getty a rare combination of academic leadership, business expertise, public service, and a passion for the arts and humanities," said Robert F. Erburu, chairman of the Getty's board of trustees. "His wide-ranging perspective on scholarship, the arts, and information technology; his proven talent for managing large and complex organizations; and his ability to communicate eloquently across disciplines and to the public and professionals alike make him an ideal choice. Filling the shoes of Harold Williams will be a very tall order, but I speak for all the trustees when I say that in Dr. Munitz we have found the best person to lead the Getty into the 21st century."
"The board has made an excellent choice," commented Harold Williams. "I have had the pleasure of working with Barry in a number of contexts, both in the corporate world and in higher education, and I know him to be a creative leader, a visionary thinker, and a tireless advocate for the enrichment of the community. He is the leading spokesperson for higher education today, and he will, without a doubt, become a strong voice for the arts and humanities. His management experience in large institutions and his civic involvement in local, national, and international organizations will serve the Getty well as it enters a new era with the opening of the Getty Center."
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Munitz received a bachelor's degree in classics and comparative literature from Brooklyn College before going on to earn a master's degree and a doctorate from Princeton University. He began his academic career in 1966 at the University of California, Berkeley, as an assistant professor in the dramatic arts and literature department. From 1968 to 1970, he served under former University of California president Clark Kerr at the Carnegie Foundation Commission on Higher Education.
In 1970, Dr. Munitz accepted a position at the University of Illinois, where he served for six years, first as associate provost and later as academic vice president for the University of Illinois system. He became vice president and dean of faculties at the University of Houston-Central Campus in 1976 and was made chancellor of that university in 1977.
Dr. Munitz gained experience in the business world when he left the University of Houston in 1982 to become a senior executive at MAXXAM, Inc., in Houston. He remained at the company until 1991, when he joined the California State University system, the largest system of higher education in the United States.
In addition to his professional affiliations, Dr. Munitz has been a national leader in promoting educational excellence. He was chairman of the American Council on Education, the leading higher-education group in America, and chairman of the California Education Round Table. He also served on the Commission on National Investment in Higher Education and on the White House commission America Reads. He was recently appointed by the White House to a commission to study the costs of higher education in the United States.
Dr. Munitz has also been active in the cultural and educational life of Los Angeles. He is a member of the board of public television station KCET and of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
In accepting his appointment, Dr. Munitz said, "It is a great honor to be given the opportunity by the board to lead the Getty, a relatively young institution, into the next phase of its development following the extraordinary accomplishments of Harold Williams. I am very enthusiastic about the Getty's potential to make an even greater impact here in Los Angeles and around the world and to build new partnerships in the community. I'm looking forward most of all to working with people on staff at each of the Getty organizations, who bring to their work a unique range of expertise and a passion for the arts and cultural heritage."