Another top University official is following former President Lee Bollinger to Columbia University this spring.

Paul Wong

Columbia announced yesterday that Vice President for Development Susan Feagin will become Columbia”s next vice president of development and alumni relations.

Feagin said her decision to leave the University was based on her desire to continue working with Bollinger as well as the opportunity to return to Columbia.

“Columbia is my alma mater I”ve worked there two times before in development,” said Feagin. “The opportunity to go back and to work for Lee were a special combination of factors.”

Feagin said she was not looking for a job prior to the offer made by Columbia, and had said shortly after Bollinger announced his resignation last year that she had no desire to leave.

“My intention is to go in to work here every day,” Feagin said in October. “I have a huge job to do.”

Feagin is the seventh administrative official to leave or change posts at the University since July 2001, causing some to speculate that the University is in the beginning stages of a transition phase.

“It is not unusual when a president leaves that there is some turnover especially as the new president comes in and puts together a new team,” said interim Provost Paul Courant, who this month replaced Lisa Tedesco, who was filling the position left vacant by Nancy Cantor in July.

Courant added that he plans to stay at the University and has not heard any speculation that other administrators may be stepping down.

Feagin was recruited by Bollinger in 1998. She is the first administrative appointment made by Bollinger at Columbia.

“Susan Feagin is the best at what she does,” said Bollinger in a press release yesterday. “She also is a person of great dedication to Columbia and an extraordinarily good person to work with. I am delighted that she is returning.”

Feagin helped to increase the University”s endowments by 4 percent last year, when many of the nation”s top universities, including Columbia, saw nearly no growth.

Interim President B. Joseph White said in a written statement that Vice President for Government Relations Cynthia Wilbanks will serve as interim vice president for development while maintaining her current position until a permanent president can appoint the next vice president for development.

“This team is working with deans and other senior administrators to connect the University with donors and friends all over the world. Susan”s contributions have been substantial, and I wish her the very best in her new role,” White said.

Columbia spokesman Virgil Renzulli said Feagin will be filling a position left vacant by the former vice president of development and alumni relations who recently retired.

“She”s got an outstanding background and I know Lee Bollinger thinks extremely highly of her,” said Renzulli. “I think she is just an absolute delight.”

Feagin graduated from Columbia in 1974 and returned in 1982 as campaign director for Arts and Sciences. Over the years she has maintained close ties to Columbia through its General Studies Advisory Council.

The University “is a remarkable place with many colleagues in important leadership positions. I am very confident about Michigan”s future,” Feagin said.

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