After he graduated from the University in 2003, third year law student Mike Simon went to work on Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign.
The day after Kerry lost the election in 2004, Simon awoke to find a package of food from Zingerman’s Delicatessen sitting on his doorstep.
The return address was Marvin Krislov, the University’s vice president and general counsel.
Krislov, a respected professor and legal counsel for the University, is stepping down from his position at the University in July to become the next president of Oberlin College, Oberlin announced on May 15.
Krislov led the legal team that successfully defended the University in the 2003 Supreme Court case challenging the part of affirmative action in the admission process.
Oberlin, a highly respected liberal arts college in northern Ohio, began its search for a new president last September after Nancy Dye resigned from the position. Krislov was named a finalist earlier this month, Oberlin spokesman Al Moran said.
Following Krislov’s visit last week to meet with faculty and students, the Oberlin Board of Trustees voted on May 14 to offer him the office, Moran said.
Krislov will be Oberlin’s fourteenth president.
In a letter posted on Oberlin’s website, Board of Trustees Chair Robert Lemle said that Krislov will take office on July 1, using that month as a transition period before working on campus full time starting August 6.
“I was interested,” Krislov said about being approached by Oberlin earlier in the year. He said the college shares his commitment to diversity and the importance of higher education.
“Oberlin is a great institution,” he said.
Recent law school graduate Marc Allon said he met Krislov when he took his seminar as a first year student in the University Law School.
Allon said that even though Krislov had first-hand experience working in the White House, he still went around and solicited each student’s opinion on the topic at hand.
“He genuinely cared what law students thought and that was really impressive to me,” he said.
Simon, who took the first undergraduate course Krislov taught in 2001 and the last law school seminar Krislov instructed this past semester, said Krislov became a personal mentor for him.
“He really took a personal interest in his students,” he said.
Simon said Krislov advised him on his undergraduate thesis and helped him find summer jobs and apply to law school.
“I’m sad to see him go” Simon said. “But it’s a great move and (Oberlin) is really lucky to have him.”
Krislov said his experience as vice president and general counsel at the University has prepared him for the presidency at Oberlin.
The office of the vice president and general counsel advises University President Mary Sue Coleman and the University Board of Regents on legal issues that pertain to every part of the University, Krislov said.
“Our office handles a wide range of issues on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a very interesting job.”
Coleman released a statement on May 15 supporting Krislov in his decision to accept the position at Oberlin.
“Marvin Krislov has provided exceptional leadership and counsel in his nine years as our lead attorney,” the statement said. “In representing the University before the Supreme Court, he was passionate in defending our use of affirmative actions in admissions. He said appearing before the high court was the most significant work of his career, but his appointment as president of Oberlin College is an extraordinary achievement. We wish him the best.”
A search committee for Krislov’s replacement will be named in the near future, University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said.
Krislov said he already promised his children that he and his family will make the two-hour trip back to Ann Arbor for at least one football game a year.
“I will miss my students and colleagues and my many friends here,” he said.