Meet Sam Hawgood

Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

Chancellor Sam Hawgood on the Mission Bay campus

Sam Hawgood, MBBS, a renowned researcher, professor, academic leader and pediatrician, has been Chancellor of UCSF since 2014.

Recognized for his strong leadership as dean of UCSF School of Medicine from 2009 to 2014 and brief tenure as interim Chancellor, Hawgood was selected after a national search as UCSF’s 10th chancellor. He reports to UC President Michael V. Drake and the UC Board of Regents.

Today, Hawgood, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor at UCSF, oversees a multi-billion-dollar UCSF enterprise, which includes the top public recipient of research funds from the National Institutes of Health, a nationally ranked medical center, and San Francisco’s second-largest employer of more than 30,000 faculty and staff.

UCSF has a tremendous impact locally, and the work we do makes a significant difference nationally and internationally. Our discovery work is critical to the future of health care.

Sam Hawgood, MBBS

UCSF includes highly ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate-level biomedical research division, the UCSF Health system and UCSF Dental Center. It has longstanding affiliations with partner hospital Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health System.

Hawgood and his leadership team guide UCSF’s dynamic innovation ecosystem, driving scientific discovery, clinical research and advances in patient care; cultivating collaborations with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries; and fostering entrepreneurialism to move research toward the marketplace for public benefit.

Hawgood supports initiatives in both basic and clinical science, recruiting world-renowned experts in such areas as cell biology, genetics, neuroscience, immunology and medical technology, with the goal of treating diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration to mental health. One of his top priorities is harnessing the power of precision medicine, leveraging “big data” in the realm of computational health, bridging the fields of genetics, molecular research, bioinformatics and medicine, to provide predictive and precise therapies for patients.

Together with UCSF Health President and CEO Mark Laret, Hawgood leads UCSF’s growing health care network as it continues to affiliate with partners to expand access to premier patient care across the Bay Area and beyond.

Working with the deans of the four schools and Graduate Division, Hawgood oversees educational innovations which ensure that students and trainees are part of a highly collaborative culture, creating a learning environment that prepares them to be tomorrow’s leaders in health and science.

In 2017, Hawgood announced one of the largest fundraising efforts ever set by a U.S. university, a $5 billion campaign aimed at tackling the most complex biomedical questions of our day and working more broadly to improve the quality of people’s health over their lifetimes. UCSF: The Campaign focuses on three “Grand Challenges”: solving fundamental biological mysteries; accelerating the translation of discoveries to transform patient care; and health equity, working with organizations in the public and private sectors that share UCSF’s commitment to everyone’s opportunity to live a healthy life.

The campaign’s ambitious goal to achieve health equity aligns with Hawgood’s longstanding efforts to address health disparities and to foster a community that supports UCSF’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

young Sam Hawgood in scrubs
Sam Hawgood working in the intensive care nursery in 1997. He started his career at UCSF in 1984 as a fellow in neonatology. Photo courtesy of Hawgood family

A native of Australia, Hawgood entered medical school at age 17 and graduated with First Class Honors from the University of Queensland in Brisbane with a degree in medicine and surgery (MBBS). He spent the next year working at a hospital in Hong Kong, and traveled through China, South Asian countries and Russia, then trained in pediatrics as a resident, followed by specialization in neonatology as a fellow.

Hawgood and his wife, Jane, a social worker now retired after focusing on palliative care for adults, met at the University of Queensland. They have been married for 41 years. After having two sons, the couple moved their young family to the U.S. in 1982.

As a young clinician, Hawgood witnessed the deaths of infants who suffered from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a developmental disease caused by the lack of a key lipoprotein called surfactant that lines healthy lungs and enables them to expand with each breath. He joined UCSF as a research fellow in 1982 to work with distinguished scientists John A. Clements, MD, and William H. Tooley, MD, both pioneers in the discovery and therapeutic uses of pulmonary surfactant, which has saved millions of infant lives.

Those clinical experiences led Hawgood to focus his research on the proteins associated with pulmonary surfactant, which won funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that supported his research continuously through 2015. That work has gained him an international reputation in neonatology research.

Hawgood maintained an active presence in clinical medicine at UCSF for almost 30 years, including serving first as division chief of the Division of Neonatology, then as chair of Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital prior to becoming dean. He also has served as president of the UCSF Medical Group, the faculty association that represents more than 2,000 physicians.

During his tenure as dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs from 2009 to 2014, the school became the top medical school in the nation in research funding from the NIH, with many of its departments also leading the nation in their fields, reflecting the caliber of scientific research on campus.

Under Hawgood’s tenure as chancellor, UCSF revenues have increased by more than 50 percent, enabling the institution to retain its leadership in biomedical science and education, and commitment to patient care and its public mission, while setting a course forward during highly competitive financial times in each of its areas of expertise.



2 UCSF faculty in a meeting

Top Priorities

In 2015, Chancellor Sam Hawgood identified four priority areas for UCSF. The University's investment of energy and resources in these priorities will complement and extend ongoing investment in UCSF's core strengths in research, patient care and education.

UCSF's Mission


State of the University Addresses

Since 2011, the Chancellor has delivered an annual State of the University address, bringing the UCSF community together to celebrate milestones of the past year and discuss challenges and priorities for the year ahead. Read coverage and watch videos from all State of the University events.

Past Addresses