June 8, 2005

To The Campus Community

Dear Colleagues:

I write to publicly thank and congratulate Dr. William Ashby, who has decided to retire next year after 35 years of outstanding leadership and service to the University, including the past 12 years as Provost of our College of Creative Studies, with extraordinary accomplishment and success.

Prior to his retirement, Dr. Ashby will be on leave in France for the fall quarter, doing intensive research on French linguistics at the Château de la Bretesche, a 14th-century castle in Brittany. He has been named “Scholar in Residence” by the Borchard Foundation. 

Dr. Ashby joined the faculty in our Department of French and Italian in 1971. Except for a semester as a visiting professor in France, he has spent his entire professional career at UC Santa Barbara. He is a Professor of French and Professor of Linguistics. His research focuses on variation and change in the French language. He currently serves as North American editor of The Journal of French Language Studies, published by Cambridge University Press. Professor Ashby chaired our Department of French and Italian for eight years, during which time he was made a knight in the Order of Academic Palms by the French Ministry of Education. He later served as Associate Provost of the College of Creative Studies for three years, and has been CCS Provost for the past twelve years.

Our campus is known for excellence and innovation in teaching and research, and the College of Creative Studies is an important part of that. CCS offers a unique educational experience for bright, highly motivated students who wish to rigorously explore a field of knowledge through intensive creative work and research projects. It is the only College of its kind within the University of California system. The CCS alumni tradition is filled with outstanding achievements and national recognitions. Under Dr. Ashby’s leadership, the College has flourished; an emphasis in computer science was added in 1995, overall enrollment in CCS has more than doubled during his tenure, and a development program has been launched. The College is currently home to 334 students, of whom 41 are Regents Scholars.

Please join me in extending our best wishes to Bill. We will always be grateful for his many outstanding contributions to our campus community.


Henry T. Yang