Cornell University’s Board of Trustees named University of Michigan Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman the 11th president of Cornell today. He will replace current president Hunter Rawlings, who has been president since 1995.

Jon Schwartz

Lehman, who will take over the presidency July 1, will be the first Cornell alum to serve as Cornell president.

In a press release, Lehman expressed his enthusiasm for his new role.

“It is a great honor to assume the presidency of a university that is one of New York’s signal contributions to the world. … I am enthusiastic about working with everyone who cares about Cornell to help realize the full measure of our aspirations.”

Members of the Cornell search committee cited Lehman’s dedication to academic research as well as the reputation for public service, internationalism and legal writing that Michigan’s law school received under his leadership.

Board chairman Peter Meinig also spoke of Lehman’s role in the Law School’s race-conscious admissions procedures.

“All of the higher education community appreciates the eloquent voice he has brought to the discussion of complex issues of educational policy,” Meinig said in a written statement. “That is especially true with regard to the complex and critically important subject of affirmative action in university admissions.”

Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, wished Lehman good luck in a written statement.

“Jeff has been a valued colleague providing strong leadership for the University of Michigan’s Law School. During his tenure the school has maintained its stellar academic stature and significantly expanded its programs in transnational law, legal writing and clinical education,” she said. “In addition, Jeff is a distinguished and articulate voice in the University’s defense of its law school admissions policies with an unwavering commitment to educational diversity.”

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