The University Record, October 22, 2001

B. Joseph White named interim U-M president

By Julie Peterson
Office of the Vice President for Communications

White (Photo by Michael J. Schimpf)
The University of Michigan Board of Regents appointed B. Joseph White as interim President of the University on Oct. 19. White, the Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor at the U-M and professor of business administration, is former dean of the highly regarded U-M Business School.

“We’re confident that Joe White will see the University through a successful and orderly transition. Joe brings a deep understanding of our campus and its priorities and we greatly appreciate his willingness to take on this critical interim role,” said Regent Laurence Deitch.

U-M President Lee C. Bollinger, who is leaving the University to become president of Columbia University, announced that he will remain in his position through the end of the fall semester. White’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2002.

“I have known Joe for many years, especially during our service together as deans,” Bollinger said. “He is devoted to the University, he has a measured view of the world, and the fact that he is so deeply informed about the community’s priorities and needs will serve the University well during this transitional period. Joe’s talents will carry over beautifully to the interim position.”

The Regents said they will announce details about the search process for a permanent president on or before their Nov. 15–16 board meeting.

“We have begun consultation with faculty and deans to best determine how to ensure a full and inclusive national search, and are committed to designing a search process that will yield the best possible leadership for Michigan,” said Regent Daniel Horning.

White served as dean of the U-M Business School from 1991 until July of this year. Under his leadership the Business School achieved a number of top rankings for its programs, increased its annual fundraising from $5.5 million to $26.5 million and grew the value of its endowment from $35 million to $260 million.

Commenting on his appointment, White said, “I appreciate the confidence of the Board of Regents and I thank President Bollinger for his wonderful leadership of our University. I look forward during this period of leadership transition to working with the Regents and the leaders of the University to maintain the excellence of the University in all its dimensions and to ensure strong, continued commitment to our key initiatives. These include the life sciences, diversity and affirmative action, arts and cultural initiatives, and the upcoming fundraising campaign.”

He added, “My wife, Mary, and I are both graduates of the University of Michigan, as are members of both our families. We are honored to serve the institution we love in this way.”

White is a senior fellow and board member of the William Davidson Institute at the Business School, and served as its president 1992–2001. He oversaw establishment of the Institute, which focuses on issues involving emerging market economies around the world, and was instrumental in bringing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the Institute as its first Distinguished Scholar.

White earned his Ph.D. in business administration from U-M in 1975, and holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He was first appointed to the faculty of the Business School in 1975, as part of its organizational behavior-industrial relations group. He served as the School’s associate dean in 1987–90 and interim dean in 1990–91.

His University service includes assignments as chair of the Academic Program Group’s Advisory Council on the Environment in 1999–2000; as a member of the Athletic Director Search Committee in 2000; and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Social Research, 1991–94, where he previously served as a faculty associate.

He also worked on implementation groups for the U-M Agenda for Women and the Michigan Mandate, University-wide initiatives intended to create a more diverse campus environment and to expand opportunities for women and minorities.

White serves as a director or trustee of several companies, including Equity Residential Properties Trust, Kelly Services Inc., Gordon Food Service, Kaydon Corp., and the mutual funds of Fred Alger Management Inc. In 1981–1987 he was an officer of the Cummins Engine Co. He was on the Cummins Engine Foundation board of directors 1984–99.

He also has served on the boards of Georgetown University, the Catherine McAuley Health System, and Greenhills School in Ann Arbor.