It was with great shock and sadness that the Special Collections and Archives staff learned that Ralph Cicerone passed away on November 5, 2016. Ralph Cicerone was UCI’s fourth chancellor from 1998-2005. He left the university to become president of the National Academy of Sciences, a position he retired from in June 2016. His life’s work and accomplishments are highlighted by the OC Register, UCI School of Physical Sciences, and The Washington Post. While we could easily add to the list of Dr. Cicerone’s incredible contributions to our planet, we would instead like to reflect on the archives’ and archivists’ relationship with Chancellor Cicerone.
The university archives has held the formal records from his chancellorship since 2005. These records contain administrative files, meeting notes, correspondence, and other documentation of his work and achievements as chancellor at UCI. Earlier this year, Dr. Cicerone graciously decided to donate his personal papers to UCI’s Special Collections and Archives. UCI archivists had been working with him and his staff at the National Academy of Sciences to transfer his papers from Washington, D.C. In June, Assistant University Archivist, Laura Uglean Jackson, had the pleasure of traveling to D.C. to appraise, box, and ship Cicerone’s personal papers stored at the Academy. While there, she met with Dr. Cicerone to talk about his papers and how they would be cared for and organized at UCI. She recalls, “Dr. Cicerone was one of the most accomplished people I have ever worked with, and he was also one of the kindest. I met with him just a few days before his retirement when he was very busy and facing a major life change. Despite this, he was incredibly calm and very nice to work with. He even offered me cookies that someone had brought him. I will always remember the respect and humility that Dr. Cicerone showed to me and his staff while I worked in his office. While I didn’t know him for long, I will always remember him as an exceptional and exemplary person.”
The Ralph Cicerone papers contain approximately 50 linear feet of material documenting his life’s work in the field of atmospheric science and chemistry. It includes photos, speeches, correspondence, committee files, research files, and much more. The university archives is in the process of making the collection available.
The Special Collections & Archives holds two other notable collections documenting Cicerone’s work and contributions: an oral history with Ralph Cicerone by Spence Olin in 2004 ,and the F. Sherwood Rowland papers. This collection contains a significant amount of correspondence to Rowland from Cicerone, who was recognized on the citation for the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to Rowland.
The staff of the Special Collections and Archives sends its sincere condolences to his wife Carol, daughter Sara, and to all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.