Vanderbilt University has selected Daniel Diermeier as its new chancellor, taking over leadership of one of Nashville’s most prominent institutions.
Diermeier is the University of Chicago’s provost and his appointment will make him Vanderbilt University’s ninth chancellor.
Diermeier was named chancellor after a national search launched in April and following Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos’ decision to step down. Diermeier will begin as chancellor on July 1.
“Daniel has the vision, leadership experience and deep commitment to trans-institutional research and teaching that we were seeking in our ninth chancellor. I am thrilled with this decision,” Vanderbilt Board of Trust Chairman Bruce R. Evans said in a statement. “He embodies Vanderbilt’s values and has a keen understanding of what makes Vanderbilt special — academic excellence made possible by a highly collaborative community.”
“Daniel also shares Vanderbilt’s commitment to making an elite education accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their background or ability to pay, a commitment informed by his own experiences as a first-generation college student,” Evans said. “His intellectual and strategic acumen, as well as his enthusiasm for our mission, will make him an outstanding chancellor.”
Diermeier said in a statement that during the search process he found a community that is proud of its distinction but also poised to continue its advancement.
“The people who serve this university and its mission understand that the challenges and opportunities facing our world are too complex to be handled alone, and they are fully committed to cooperation among diverse partners as a way of achieving progress,” Diermeier said. “I am deeply drawn to Vanderbilt’s purpose, principles and values, and am honored to join this community to tackle the work ahead.”
As University of Chicago provost, Diermeier leads the school’s research and academic programs and oversees the school’s $2.5 billion budget, according to his biography.
During his tenure, Diermeier and his team reorganized the university’s financial management structure, leading to savings of $80 million. Federal research grants under his tenure grew by more than $100 million.
Diermeier also led faculty expansion efforts in computer science and data analytics, economics and policy, urban studies, and molecular engineering, culminating in the creation of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in 2019.
Before becoming provost, he served as the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy dean.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Diermeier earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Rochester in 1995. He also holds master’s degrees in philosophy and political science from the University of Southern California, the University of Munich and the University of Rochester.
Before joining the Chicago university, Diermeier taught at Northwestern University. He won multiple teaching awards during his time at the school and was named among one of the world’s best business school professors by Fortune magazine.
Diermeier speaks five languages, has consulted in both the private and public sectors and published four books, as well as more than 100 research articles.
Diermeier and his wife, Ariela Lazar, director of visual arts education and outreach at the University of Chicago, have twin sons, both in college.
Interim Chancellor Susan Wente will continue to serve as both chancellor and provost until June 30, 2020, at which time she’ll resume her role as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Diermeier replaces Zeppos, who stepped down in August as head of the university due to health problems.
Zeppos started at the university in 1987 as a law professor. Over the decades, he worked his way from the faculty to the administration, eventually becoming the university’s chief academic officer and previous Chancellor Gordon Gee’s chief deputy.
He took the reins as chancellor in 2008, in the midst of a historic national financial crisis, and he has navigated sweeping challenges, controversies and successes in the years since.
Zeppos led the university through the Great Recession and a rape case against former Vanderbilt football players that put the university in the national spotlight during a reckoning on campus sexual assault.
During Zeppos’ tenure, the university endowment grew from a low of $2.9 billion during the recession to $6.4 billion, according to figures provided by the university. The university’s pool of applicants has more than doubled, and its national rankings have climbed to new heights.
The university’s top supporters gave Zeppos credit for the institution’s continued strength, pointing to his dedication to research, financial aid and, above all, change.
This is a developing story.
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Reach Jason Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.
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