Northwestern Names New President After First Pick Steps Down

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Northwestern University selected Michael Schill to be its next president yesterday, 16 months after longtime Northwestern President Morton Schapiro announced his intention to retire.

The news comes almost exactly one month after Rebecca Blank, the former University of Wisconsin at Madison chancellor who was chosen to replace Schapiro last October, announced she was stepping down after being diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of cancer.

Schill will leave the University of Oregon, where he served as president for seven years and is a tenured law professor, to become Northwestern’s 17th president. It will be his second position in the windy city, after serving as dean of the University of Chicago Law School from 2010 to 2015. Before that, he was dean of the UCLA School of Law.

Northwestern’s decision was informed by Schill’s “deep commitment to research and academic rigor, his focus on student access and success, his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated administrative leadership,” said Peter Barris, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and incoming chair of the Board of Trustees.

Schill, a first-generation college student, spent much of his career working on issues of affordability and racial equity in housing. In a statement released by Northwestern, Schill said he’s “thrilled, honored and humbled” to take the job.

“Northwestern is blessed with a university community whose deep commitment to human potential is awe-inspiring,” he said. “I know deep in my bones how a great education can transform one’s life and I want to continue Northwestern’s progress in this area.”

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