The University of Oregon’s president is leaving to lead Northwestern University, according to a message that went out to the campus community Thursday morning.
UO President Michael Schill has been with the school since 2015. He’s currently one of the longest-serving presidents working at an Oregon public university following the recent departures of other leaders.
Schill’s resignation marks a period of unusual turnover at Oregon’s public universities. The state’s largest university, Oregon State, hired Jayathi Murthy as president in June after its last permanent president resigned amid controversy. Stephen Percy, the president of Portland State University, announced he was retiring at the end of the upcoming academic year, after heading the school since 2019. And Eastern Oregon University officials reported last week that their president, Tom Insko, was resigning to take a job in the timber industry.
“During his seven-year tenure at the UO, President Schill has significantly propelled the university forward, and so it is no surprise that he would be recruited by one of the most prestigious academic research institutions in the world,” UO Board of Trustees Chair Ginevra Ralph sent in her message to campus.
According to the university, UO’s board of trustees will work to appoint an interim president. The university expects the interim president to begin their position before the start of the upcoming fall term.
The board will discuss the process and search for the next permanent president at its September meeting.
“I and the other members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon are immensely grateful for President Schill’s service and leadership to this university, and its faculty, staff and students,” Ralph said in her statement. “We are also extremely excited and optimistic about the future of the university.”
Oregon U.S. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden talked to OPB Thursday about Schill’s departure. Wyden, who is a graduate of UO’s School of Law, said he had worked very closely with Schill.
“I got a chance to work with him particularly in areas related to science funding. He made that such a priority and we’re going to make sure that whoever fills his shoes is going to continue with that,” Wyden said.
Wyden also noted more broadly that higher education in Oregon needs continued attention, amid recent leadership turnover and difficulties caused by the ongoing pandemic.
“We know we’ve got lots of challenges in our state in the days ahead, and I can tell you we’re going to work very closely with our higher ed programs. The funding and the budgets over the last year, we’ve seen some improvements, but there’s a lot more to do,” he said.