LOS ANGELES (NEWSnet/AP) — The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national focal point for U.S. campus protests.

This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico’s national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

“The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully,” Frenk said. “This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education.”

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration’s response.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA’s seventh chancellor on Jan. 1, 2025.

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