Thursday, December 01, 2022

Columbia University president says he will retire in June 2023

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Lee Bollinger, who served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

“I can’t begin to express what it means to me to serve this magnificent university for more than two decades in this role,” Bollinger, 75, said in an email to the Columbia community. “Certainly, this has been a defining experience of my life.”

As president, Bollinger oversaw a new development of 17 acres a few blocks north of the Ivy League university’s main campus, which now houses the Columbia Business School and other facilities.

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“There is no more fitting metaphor for Lee’s leadership than the successful creation of Columbia’s Manhattanville campus,” said Lisa Carnoy and Jonathan Lavine, co-chairs of the university’s board of trustees, in a statement.

Many residents and business owners opposed Columbia’s expansion into a former industrial area in Upper Manhattan. The trustees said in their statement that Colombia has “worked with the communities around us to support priorities such as housing and education.”

Bollinger and other administrators once opposed the formation of a union for graduate student workers, but they agreed to recognize the United Auto Workers-affiliated union. in 2018.

Bollinger also faced backlash for inviting then-President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver a speech in 2007. Bollinger used the occasion to criticize Iran’s human rights record and foreign policy.

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A graduate of Columbia’s Law School and a noted First Amendment scholar, Bollinger served as president of the University of Michigan before taking the top position at Columbia.

Columbia’s trustees said they would set up a search committee for a new university president in the coming months.

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