The University Record, October 8, 2001

Bollinger will be next president of Columbia University

By Theresa Maddix

Bollinger (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services)
President Lee C. Bollinger indicated he will leave U-M to become the president of Columbia University, pending approval by the Columbia Board of Trustees this past Saturday. (The Record was unable to confirm the trustees recommendation when the paper went to press.)

In his e-mail announcement to the University community, Bollinger said, “I have agreed to allow Columbia University to submit my name as the recommended candidate for president. The heart-wrenching nature of our decision lies not in the reality of projects unfinished—for these are commitments lasting well beyond the life of any single president—but the myriad ways in which our lives have become meaningfully intertwined with so many individuals in the Michigan community.”

Henry King, chair of the Columbia search committee, related his excitement at the prospect of a Bollinger presidency for his school: “He is the leader of a very distinguished university, the University of Michigan, that is as complex or more complex than Columbia. Bollinger is regarded as a very broad-gauged person, not only in his own professional area as a First Amendment scholar, but also in the arts and sciences. He has pushed the development of the Life Science Initiative which we think of as enormously important. It is the breadth of his interests that are important to us.”

Jefferson Porter, senior director of corporate and foundation relations, and director of development at the Life Sciences Institute, says he had mixed reactions to the news of Bollinger’s upcoming departure. “It’s always sad to see someone so gifted as a leader leave Michigan, but as with any great leader he will bequeath an agenda that he has put into motion. I think he’s done that with the life sciences. His personal touch will no longer be a part of the Initiative but I’m sure a new person will step into the void and pick up where he left off.”

Jeffrey S. Lehman, dean of the Law School, thanked Bollinger for his support—and that of the University community—in the Law School admissions lawsuit. “We’ve been very gratified by the breadth and depth of support that the entire campus has provided throughout the litigation. Lee’s personal voice as an articulate spokesperson for the educational values of integration will continue to be heard whether he is in Ann Arbor or New York,” Lehman says.

Bollinger, named the 12th University President in 1996, also serves as professor of law and teaches a popular course each year on the First Amendment.

Prior to becoming President, he served as dean of the U-M Law School, 1987–94 and as provost at Dartmouth College, 1994–96.

Published works by Bollinger include the forthcoming Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era, 2001, Images of a Free Press, 1991; The Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America, 1986; and Contract Law in Modern Society, 1980.

Bollinger graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bach-elor’s of science from the University of Oregon in 1968, and a juris doctor from Columbia University in 1971.

He is married to Jean Magnano Bollinger, an artist with studios in Vermont and Dexter, Michigan. They have two children—Lee, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and of the U-M Law School and Carey, a graduate of Harvard University and a student at Columbia Law School.