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Patricia A. Pelfrey

Senior Research Associate, Center for Studies in Higher Education

Patricia A. Pelfrey


Senior Research Associate, Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE). Co-author (with Margaret Cheney) of A Brief History of the University of California (University of California Press, 2004) and editor of The Pursuit of Knowledge: Speeches and Papers of Richard C. Atkinson (University of California Press, 2007). Her most recent book is Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995-2003 (University of California Press, 2012), a study of the Atkinson presidency and the principal issues facing the University of California during this seminal period. She has also authored or co-authored papers on affirmative action, undergraduate admissions, industry-university relationships, and other higher-education topics.

Before joining the Center in 2002, Pelfrey served for more than thirty years as a member of the immediate staff of five University of California presidents: Charles J. Hitch, David S. Saxon, David P. Gardner, J. W. Peltason, and Richard C. Atkinson. On her retirement from the Office of the President she was granted the title Assistant to the President Emerita in recognition of her service to the University.

Pelfrey holds a Ph.D. in English literature from UC Berkeley. Current research interests include nineteenth-century ideas about knowledge, cognition, and higher education and their relation to contemporary thinking; UC as a public multicampus system; and the role of the president in UC and other public research universities. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Higher Education

Last updated on 10/31/2016




(510) 642-5418



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Center for Studies in Higher Education
771 Evans Hall, MC 4650
Berkeley, CA 94720