Academic publishing veteran to direct the University PressBy Josh Schonwald
Garrett Kiely has been named Director of the University Press, the nation’s largest academic press.
Kiely, an academic publishing veteran who currently is president of Palgrave Macmillan (formerly St. Martin’s Press Scholarly & Reference Division), will begin his duties as Director of the University Press on Saturday, Sept. 1.
“Garrett has a firm understanding of academic publishing and the challenges and opportunities we now face,” said Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, in announcing Kiely’s appointment. “At Palgrave, he has been closely involved with editorial decision-making; with warehousing, distribution and production; with sales and marketing; and with print-on-demand and digital publishing,” she said.
“He also combines considerable financial and management experience in a complex business structure with sensitivities for and appreciation of academic publishing.”
Equally important, Rosenbaum said, “Garrett has a deep understanding of the Press’ mission and of the ways in which the work of the academy and the work of publishing can support and enhance each other. I am confident that with Garrett Kiely as Director, the Press will continue to grow and further enhance its position as the leading university press in North America.”
Kiely said, “I am thrilled and honored to accept the position of Director of the University of Chicago Press. I have worked in academic publishing for more than two decades, and I have always admired the Press for its dedication to disseminating the finest scholarly information through its books and journals programs. I look forward to working with a staff that is rightfully proud of the quality of their publications.”
Kiely added that he is excited to join the University community. “This is a very special institution, and I have been extremely impressed with the passion and commitment expressed to me during the selection process,” he said. “My family and I are also looking forward to living in Chicago, and we hope there is room in everyone’s heart for a few Yankee fans.”
A graduate of Georgetown University, Kiely comes to the University Press after more than 20 years at Palgrave Macmillan USA, a division of St. Martin’s Press. At Palgrave, he has served as both sales and marketing director, and vice president of the Scholarly and Reference Division. He also has served as the U.S. publisher of the Encarta World English Dictionary and as president of Grove’s Dictionary.
During his eight years as president of Palgrave, Kiely directed the merger of the St. Martin’s Press Scholarly and Reference Division with the United Kingdom’s Macmillan Press in January 2000. He was responsible for domestic publishing, import publishing, reference publishing and distribution for four U.K.-based publishers. Regarded for his innovative leadership, Kiely managed several digital e-book conversion projects, pioneered Web development initiatives, and was responsible for marketing online products to libraries, institutions and professionals.
Kiely joins the press at a crucial time in its history. A $60 million operation, which employs more than 300 people in its three divisions—Books, Journals and Distribution—the Press is adapting to digital innovations that are changing the way publishing houses operate.
“The University of Chicago Press is one of the jewels of the University, representing the University to the entire academy. Every book and journal that has ‘The University of Chicago Press’ on its spine is an ambassador of the University,” said Martha Roth, Dean of the Division of the Humanities and chair of the search committee that selected Kiely. “We sought to bring to the press a new director who will be a steward of its mission and an outstanding administrator and leader for a complex business.”
The search committee, which included representatives from the faculty, the University Press, the University Library and the Board of Trustees, solicited input widely from deans and faculty members as well as members of the press community, Roth said.
“We reviewed a number of highly qualified applicants, and the committee conducted careful deliberations. Our final choice, Garrett Kiely, has the demonstrated qualities we seek,” Roth said. “He will be an outstanding leader of the press.”
Founded in 1891 when the University was established, the University Press is one of the oldest continuously operating university presses in the country. More than a century later, it is one of the premier American university presses. The Books Division publishes approximately 250 books a year, has published more than 11,000 books since the press’ founding, and has more than 5,300 books in print. The Journals Division publishes 43 journals and five annuals.
The Distribution Services Division provides warehousing, customer service and related services to 40 publishers at the Chicago Distribution Center. It also is the home of the new initiatives the Chicago Digital Distribution Center, which provides digital printing services, and the BiblioVault repository for digital book files.
In addition to its well-known scholarly output, the press has published some important trade books, such as Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It and Young Men and Fire, which made the national best-seller list in 1992, and One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko, a collection of columns by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune newspaperman.
Kiely succeeds Paula Barker Duffy, who has led the Press since 2000. Chris Heiser, Deputy Director of the Press, is serving as Interim Director until Kiely begins his appointment.