Don Michael Randel to be 12th President, will take office July 1
The Universitys Board of Trustees has elected Don Michael Randel, provost of Cornell University, the 12th President of the University effective July 1. Randels election was announced Monday, Dec. 13, at a press conference in Ida Noyes Hall, after the Board approved the Presidential Search Committees nomination.
Randel will succeed President Sonnenschein, who has served as President since 1993. Sonnenschein announced in June his decision to serve for a seventh and final year before returning to teaching and research in the Universitys Department of Economics.
Edgar Jannotta, Chairman of the Board and the Search Committee, said, Don was an early favorite of our committee, and he maintained that position even as we considered hundreds of candidates. He impressed us enormously both personally and professionally. He is a distinguished scholar with an appreciation for research across disciplines, and he understands the Universitys intellectual environment. The process of working with our faculty colleagues on this search was itself a satisfying experience, and it has now proven also to be wonderfully productive.
Randel himself said, The University is, I believe, the supreme example of what a university dedicated to the fundamental ideals of intellectual inquiry and expression should be. Its unique profile on the landscape of higher education derives in great degree from its commitment without compromise to an intellectual tradition of the highest order.
This makes it a community that I would be honored to join in almost any capacity, certainly as a member of the faculty or indeed as a student. I am therefore deeply honored to serve as its President, and in this capacity, to work with faculty, students, staff, alumni and its many friends to continue and strengthen its great traditions. That the University is so much a part of the fabric of one of the worlds great cities adds to this honor considerable excitement for both me and my wife, Carol.
As provost at Cornell, Randel has been the leading academic officer after the president. Cornells president, Hunter Rawlings III, appointed Randel as provost in 1995.
The Selection Committee and Trustees of the University of Chicago have made a superb choice, Rawlings said. Don Randels leadership will be felt not only at Chicago, but throughout the nation.
Randel, 59, is a distinguished scholar of music with special interests in music of the Renaissance and Middle Ages. He served as editor of the New Harvard Dictionary of Music (1986), the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (1996) and the Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1999). He grew up in Panama, where his father owned a small business, and received A.B., M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees in music from Princeton University. He has been an Honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Danforth Graduate Fellow and a Fulbright award winner. He served as editor in chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society from 1972 to 1974 and as the societys vice president from 1977 to 1978. He also has served on the advisory or review committees of many universities.
In addition to his scholarly work and teaching, Randel has served at Cornell in several administrative posts, including department chairman, vice provost, associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, dean of the college and provost.
In my various administrative capacities, I have tried to remember that most of the good ideas come from the faculty, and it is the job of administrators to help make them realities, he said. I also believe we do best when we align our administrative goals as closely as possible with our academic objectives. It is those objectives that can best guide how we spend and invest our resources.
Among the ideas he has helped make manifest at Cornell are an increase in interdisciplinary collaborations; new facilities for theater, music and the architecture school; increased investment in the Cornell high-energy synchrotron source; improvements in the quality of the living and learning environments for undergraduate students, including new residence halls and programming; and greater support for the facilities, collections and programs of the campus libraries. Randel said he also is proud to have persuaded some of Cornells most distinguished faculty to serve in administrative positions, creating what he called a very clear and strong faculty voice in the administration.
Frank Richter, the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor in Geophysical Sciences, served as Chairman of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Trustee Search Committee, both of which were established in July. He explained that the committee pursued its work on the basis of some fairly specific expectations.
We developed a set of criteria to help us judge the candidates and their fit to lead the University, he said. On all the criteriapersonal academic distinction; understanding of and ability to articulate and defend the values of higher education, especially those of the University; experience running large parts of a complex university; and maintaining relations with alumni and friends and facilitating fund raisingRandel earned the highest possible marks. You really couldnt ask for a more perfect match.
Sonnenschein commented on both Randels qualifications for the role and good fortune.
Don is an outstanding scholar and a highly successful academic administrator. Perhaps more important, he has a perfect sense of the value of universities in general and of this University in particular. As President, he will have the privilege and satisfaction of turning his energies to the advancement of the most precious gem in all of higher education. Because of his scholarly values, I am certain he will feelas I did every day for the past seven yearsmore truly at home at this University than anywhere else. This truly is the best job in higher education, and I look forward to returning to research and teaching here, knowing Don will be succeeding in it.
Jannotta praised Sonnenscheins achievements, including changes that strengthened the University both academically and financially.
Sonnenschein has been a dedicated and innovative leader. He made fund raising a priority and substantially improved the rate of growth of the endowment. He gathered the resources and assembled the team that made the College more attractive to more of the nations very best students. He initiated a Campus Master Plan that promises increased capacity for Regenstein Library, state-of-the-art laboratories, new dormitories and athletic facilities, a new campus for the Graduate School of Business, a dining commons and much more, all to be built within the next few years.
It has been a privilege to work with him, Jannotta added, and we can look forward to reaping the benefits of his initiatives for many decades to come.
Randel and his wife will reside in the Presidents house built for the Universitys first President, William Rainey Harper. The Randels have four daughters, all relatively recent college graduates. They are Amy Constable Keating (Harvard 92); Julia Randel (Yale 93); Emily Constable Pershing (Brown 94) and Sally Randel Eggert (Cornell 97).