University of Rochester

President Jackson to Step Down June 30, 2005

March 5, 2004

President Thomas H. Jackson yesterday announced to the University of Rochester Board of Trustees that he intends to step down as president as of June 30, 2005.

“Next year will be my eleventh year as the University’s president,” Jackson said in a letter released to the University community this morning. “Even before I became president, I observed that leadership change and evolution is good for an institution, and that a successful tenure as an academic leader is likely to be measured in an eight to twelve year period. Thus, eleven years is ‘about right’ in terms of the normal cycle of modern presidential terms.

“As measured by projects, or accomplishments, I believe that I have completed virtually all of the major goals that I set for myself, and for the institution, upon my arrival,” he said.

“President Jackson’s principled leadership has propelled our University to advance on many important fronts over the past decade,” said board chairman G. Robert Witmer, Jr. “The University’s divisions—the College, Medical Center and Strong Health, Eastman School, Simon School, Warner School, and Memorial Art Gallery—are all thriving, creative enterprises. Their vitality reflects the depth and strength of Tom Jackson’s leadership.”

Witmer will chair the search for Jackson’s successor. The search, beginning this spring, will be designed “to make sure that the various constituencies of the University have opportunities for meaningful participation in the process,” Witmer said.

Jackson, 53, said that he intends to take a year’s sabbatical in 2005-06 and thereafter teach at the University. He will assume a Distinguished University Professorship with faculty appointments in the College’s Department of Political Science and in the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration. The professorship has been established by the Board of Trustees in Jackson’s honor and will be endowed through support from former board chairman Robert B. Goergen and from past and current trustees. When Jackson retires from the professorship, it will be permanently renamed the Thomas H. Jackson Distinguished University Professorship.

“I had the privilege of chairing the search leading to Tom Jackson’s appointment as president, and I was very pleased and excited to watch the great support for his candidacy emerging early on in the process,” Goergen said. “It certainly did prove to be the right choice, in every sense. His accomplishments are considerable, as he has found very creative solutions to the kinds of thorny issues an academic institution must confront.

“I and fellow board members very much want Tom to remain a member of the University community, and we are very pleased that he will continue on as Distinguished Professor,” Goergen added.

Jackson became the University’s ninth president in 1994. Previously he was vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, which he first joined in 1988 as dean of Virginia’s School of Law. He had been professor of law at Harvard from 1986 to 1988 and served on the Stanford University faculty from 1977 to 1985.

A graduate of Williams College, Jackson earned his law degree from Yale in 1975. He first clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin E. Frankel in New York in 1975-76, and then for Supreme Court Justice (now Chief Justice) William H. Rehnquist in 1976-77. He is the author of bankruptcy and commercial law texts used in law schools across the country, and has served as Special Master for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note to Editors: Jackson and Witmer will be available to speak with media at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 6. Please call in advance to make arrangements.

Developments during the Jackson Administration

During President Jackson’s administration, the University has seen a number of significant developments, including:

  • The integration of the College of Arts and Science and School of Engineering and Applied Science into a single College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering to provide a more coherent experience for the undergraduates on the River Campus.

  • The decentralization of the University principal divisions (College, Eastman School of Music, Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, and Medical Center), giving each academic component significant authority and responsibility for its own operations.

  • The implementation (in 1996) of the nationally noted Renaissance Plan, providing a significant improvement in the quality of the College’s student population.

  • The revitalization of the Medical Center as a nationally recognized center for patient care and research; construction of two state-of-the-art medical research buildings on the Medical Center campus, as part of the Medical Center’s strategic initiative; the doubling of the Medical Center’s funding from the National Institutes of Health; the incorporation of the Eastman Dental Center (in 1998) into the University; and the naming of Children’s Hospital at Strong in honor of Tom Golisano (in 2002).

  • The formation of the Strong Health network with the affiliation of such entities as Highland Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service, Highlands at Pittsford, and Meadows at Westfall.

  • Curricular innovations in the College (the Rochester Curriculum), the School of Medicine and Dentistry (Double Helix Curriculum), School of Nursing (re-centering programs around adult learners and practicing nurses), and Eastman School of Music (Eastman Initiatives); and the establishment of a new Department of Biomedical Engineering spanning the College and medical school.

  • Endowment investment performance that, over the past ten years, has been one of the best performers in its peer group. (The ten-year average annual return for Rochester’s annualized return, at 9.8 percent, puts Rochester in second place within that group and resulted in the doubling of the size of the endowment.)

  • The rejuvenation of campus alumni programs (beginning, notably, with the 2000 sesquicentennial celebration of the University’s founding and following with annual Meliora Weekends).

  • New centers and initiatives, including the recently announced Kauffman Foundation “Campus Initiatives” grant (paving the way soon for the Rochester Center for Entrepreneurship, in addition to entrepreneurship programs throughout the schools and College) and the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering.

  • Groundbreaking for a significant expansion to the capabilities of the University’s world-class Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

  • Construction of the Simon School’s Gleason Hall (dedicated in 2001, housing new classrooms, study rooms, and a significantly expanded Career Services facility).

  • A transformative renovation of the athletic center, now named for Robert B. Goergen, and the construction of the center-of-campus Dandelion Square (both dedicated in 2000).

  • Extensive renovations of Rush Rhees Library, the University’s best-known landmark.

  • Significant steps to address deferred maintenance and to enhance the visual appeal of the University.

Presidents at the University of Rochester

Martin Brewer Anderson 1853-1888

David Jayne Hill 1889-1896

Rush Rhees 1900-1935

Alan Valentine 1935-1950

Cornelis W. de Kiewiet 1951-1961

W. Allen Wallis 1962-1970 (Chancellor 1970-1978)

Robert L. Sproull 1970-1984 (chief executive 1975-1984)

Dennis O’Brien 1984-1994

Thomas H. Jackson 1994-2005




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