April 17, 2014


Dear Colleagues:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share with you the sad news that our colleague Alan Wyner, former Dean of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters and Science, passed away last night.

Dr. Wyner, a renowned political scientist and educator, faithfully served our university for 40 years until his retirement in 2008. He taught a number of courses including public administration, environmental politics, and American politics and government, and researched legislative politics and the mechanism of policy implementation. In 1996, he was appointed Acting Dean of Undergraduate Education and four years later was officially named Dean, a position he held until he retired.

Even as Dean, Dr. Wyner continued to teach a freshman seminar each year on “American Political Controversies.” He was passionately committed to helping undergraduates succeed in their studies, their campus lives, and their careers. He was an avid and effective advocate for student issues at the campus and systemwide levels, while still remaining accessible to provide one-on-one counseling and support to the tens of thousands of students who walked into his office every year.

Through his exceptional leadership, he helped implement a Freshmen Summer Start Program and an innovative online degree audit system. He was a strong proponent and catalyst for our undergraduate research programs, our Freshmen Seminar Program, and the Letters and Science Honors Program. In addition, the Al J. Wyner Scholarship for Undergraduate Research was established to carry on his legacy of encouraging undergraduates to pursue research endeavors.

We offer our sincerest sympathies to Al’s wife, Louise; his sons, Rick and David; his stepson, Seth; his stepdaughter, Zoë; and to the rest of his family and many friends. We take solace in the fact that our campus will continue to bear Al’s mark, as his devotion and extraordinary contributions were an important part of UCSB’s emergence as a world-class university. His passing is a tremendous loss for our entire community, and he will be greatly missed.

If you would like to pay your respects, a funeral will be held tomorrow, Friday, April 18, at 1 p.m. at B’Nai B’rith in Santa Barbara. A graveside service will follow.


Henry Yang