In his five-year term as University president, Lee Bollinger has restructured the administrative offices and appointed new leaders to every executive position.
“He was a decided change from Jim Duderstadt,” said Walter Harrison, who served as the vice-president for University relations and secretary of the University under Bollinger and his predecessor, James Duderstadt. Like Duderstadt, Bollinger has “a very strong understanding of what makes Michigan, Michigan.”
“They both hired very talented people,” said Harrison, who is now president of the University of Hartford.
After Harrison left Ann Arbor for Hartford, Bollinger divided his position into three separate offices in 1998 government relations, communications and the office of the secretary.
In addition, the general counsel position was given more authority and upgraded to an executive office in 1998.
“It gives legal counsel a much stronger voice,” Harrison said this spring. With the lawsuits challenging the University”s admissions policies, it was “vitally important to have a legal counsel thinking about everything you”re doing,” he added.
Under Bollinger”s watch, the Chief Financial Office was restructured, and the University”s endowment has grown substantially.
“A billion dollars in five years ain”t bad,” Harrison said. The University”s more than $3 billion in endowments is one of the highest of any public institution in the nation, Harrison said.
Bollinger also had the unique opportunity to appoint every officer on the University”s executive board.
“I think it”s fairly unusual with as many vice presidents as Michigan has,” Harrison said.
“All of us executive officers are people that have come in with him,” Krislov said.
“He has assembled a team that is energetic, that works well together and cares deeply about this University and on the whole collaborates pretty well with each other,” he added.
Like Krislov, who came to the University in November 1998 after working for the U.S. Department of Labor, few of Bollinger”s appointees to executive offices had background in higher education, said former Vice President of Student Affairs Maureen Hartford, now President of Meredith College.
“I hope he will be remembered for bringing in and for promoting committed people,” Krislov said.
“I think he”s going to be remembered as one of Michigan”s great presidents,” Harrison said.