Northwestern University announced Thursday that Michael Schill, the current president of the University of Oregon, will take office as Northwestern’s 17th president this fall.

Michael Schill, president-elect of Northwestern University. Credit: Shane Collins

“I am thrilled, honored and humbled to join Northwestern, one of the world’s most prominent universities,” Schill said in an article published by Northwestern Now. “Northwestern has a long tradition of educating the brightest minds and pushing the boundaries of research and innovation.”

Before becoming UO’s president in 2015, Schill previously served as dean at the law schools of the University of Chicago and UCLA, and as a chaired professor at NYU and the University of Pennsylvania.

His selection comes exactly one month after the previous president-elect, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, announced she was stepping down after being diagnosed with “an aggressive form of cancer.” Outgoing president Morton Schapiro agreed to serve as interim president while the school’s Board of Trustees conducted a new search.

“I am very pleased that Michael Schill has been elected as Northwestern’s next president,” said Board of Trustees Chair J. Landis Martin in Northwestern Now. “As a proven leader and accomplished scholar, he has demonstrated the skills to collaboratively develop a strategic vision to advance Northwestern’s positive impact on the world.”

Dean Hari Osofsky of Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law told the RoundTable that she is looking forward to working with the new president, who she described as a “nationally recognized expert” in several areas of law.

“He is an amazing leader who has had an important impact as president of the University of Oregon, and as a law dean at both the University of Chicago Law School and UCLA School of Law,” Osofky said. “He serves as a generous mentor to so many people and I have been very appreciative to work from his insights.”

Therese McGuire, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, previously served as president of Northwestern’s Faculty Senate for the 2020-21 school year. She said her initial assessment of Schill’s relationship with faculty at UO has been positive, assuaging some of the anxiety that comes with a change in leadership.

“Whenever there’s turnover from one president to the next, the faculty always get a little bit nervous, like how’s this person going to view the faculty and view the governance body that represents the faculty?” McGuire said. “It seems like he will be a president that the faculty will view like a colleague, you know, like someone who will hear us and what to work with us. So I don’t expect it to be fraught relationship at all.”

Alex Harrison reports on local government, public safety, developments, town-gown relations and more for the RoundTable. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in June...