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Search committee established to find the next Northwestern president

Committee of 36 members, representing the University’s many stakeholder groups, will seek broad input from across the Northwestern community

Editor’s note: On July 11, Rebecca Blank announced that she has been diagnosed with cancer and will be unable to fulfill her role as the 17th president of Northwestern. President Morton Schapiro will continue to lead the University until his successor is identified.

The Presidential Search Committee has been appointed to advise the Board of Trustees in selecting the University’s next president, Board Chair J. Landis Martin announced today.

Last month, President Morton Schapiro announced that he will conclude his tenure on Aug. 31, 2022. Since he took office in September 2009 as the 16th president in Northwestern’s 170-year history, the University has elevated its status as a leader in research and teaching.

Under Schapiro’s leadership, undergraduate applications have nearly doubled — as has representation from underrepresented student groups — and the acceptance rate has dropped from 27% to 7%. Annual funding for sponsored research activity has risen 86%, from $476.9 million in 2009 to $887.3 million in 2020. And, bolstered by one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in higher education history, which has raised $5.3 billion to date, the University has more than doubled its endowment from $5.8 billion to $12.2 billion.

“We seek the next visionary president to lead Northwestern’s continued contributions and growing eminence in an evolving global landscape,” Martin said.

The 36-member search committee comprises a diverse mix of members from across Northwestern’s stakeholder groups, including trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni leaders. The faculty and students represent the broad domain of schools at Northwestern and include undergraduate and graduate/professional student representation. 

The search committee will solicit input from all areas of the University, and there will be several opportunities and events for broad engagement throughout the University in the coming weeks, including forums for various constituencies small and large. 

Peter Barris, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, will chair the search committee.

“I look forward to leading this strong, diverse committee as we work to fully understand Northwestern’s needs and pursue the outstanding candidate who will guide Northwestern toward the possibilities of the future,” Barris said.  

Members of the Northwestern community are encouraged to share thoughts on institutional priorities and the qualities the University should seek in its 17th president. This feedback will inform the fundamental components of the formal position description and the search committee’s lens for this global search. 

The search committee, charged with building a broad, diverse pool of candidates and conducting outreach and interviews, ultimately will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for election of the next president. 

Marilyn McCoy, vice president for administration and planning, will staff the search committee.

Share your ideas and nominations

The search committee welcomes input and advice at any point during this process, and there is a Presidential Search website where you can submit a nomination and provide input to the search committee. The site also will provide information on constituent events as they are scheduled.

Presidential Search Committee

The search committee is comprised of the following individuals:


  • Peter J. Barris, Chair of the Search Committee and Vice Chair of the Board
  • Alicia Boler Davis, Vice Chair of the Search Committee 
  • Virginia M. Rometty, Vice Chair of the Search Committee and Vice Chair of the Board
  • J. Landis Martin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Steven A. Cahillane
  • Fernando G. Chico
  • Deborah L. DeHaas
  • Jane S. Hoffman
  • Yie-Hsin Hung
  • Adam R. Karr
  • Harreld (Kip) N. Kirkpatrick III
  • Milton M. Morris
  • Wendy M. Nelson
  • Kimberly Querrey
  • Patrick G. Ryan, Jr.
  • David A. Sachs
  • Michael S. Shannon
  • Michael R. Wilbon


  • Linda J. Broadbelt
    Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
    Associate Dean for Research
    McCormick School of Engineering
  • Robert A. Holmgren

    Professor of Molecular Biosciences
    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
    Incoming President of the Faculty Senate

  • Dimitri Krainc
    Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor of Neurology, Neurological Surgery and Physiology
    Chair of the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology
    Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Jide O. Nzelibe

    Benjamin Mazur Summer Research Professor of Law
    Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

  • Teri W. Odom
    Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry
    Chair of the Department of Chemistry
    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Paola Sapienza
    Professor of Finance
    Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance
    Kellogg School of Management 
  • Laurie J. Shannon
    Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English Literature
    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences


  • Maxwell E. Edmonds 
    M.D./Ph.D. student, Medical Scientist Training Program 
    Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Campbell I. Schafer 
    Undergraduate student, Economics 
    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
    Academic Chair of the Associated Student Government 


  • Natasha K. DiPrima 
    Senior Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development 
  • Amanda J. Distel 
    Senior Associate Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

Alumni leadership

  • Larry Irving
    Northwestern Alumni Association President
  • Samir S. Mayekar
    Northwestern Alumni Association Past President 


  • Charles A. Tribbett III, Vice Chair of the Board 
  • David B. Weinberg, Trustee


  • William A. Osborn, Trustee and Past Chairman of the Board 
  • Patrick G. Ryan, Trustee and Past Chairman of the Board
  • Howard J. Trienens, Trustee and Past Chairman of the Board
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