by Ginevra Ralph
It is with mixed emotions of pride and sadness that I announce that President Michael H. Schill will be leaving the University of Oregon to become president of Northwestern University.
During his seven-year tenure at the UO, President Schill has significantly propelled the university forward, and so it is no surprise that he would be recruited by one of the most prestigious academic research institutions in the world.
As president, Michael Schill transformed our academic enterprise by increasing the size of the faculty, growing externally funded research to $172 million, and launching groundbreaking academic endeavors including the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, and partnerships such as Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance. During his tenure, the UO completed a $3.2 billion fundraising campaign and grew the endowment to $1.3 billion. Under President Schill’s Oregon Commitment initiative to improve student success, the university improved the four-year graduation rate by more than ten percentage points, increased total student financial aid to $43 million, and opened Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall dedicated to academic and career advising and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. The incoming undergraduate classes consistently increased in size, academic quality, and diversity, with the most recent class of 2025 breaking numerous university records.
I and the other members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon are immensely grateful for President Schill’s service and leadership to this university, and its faculty, staff, and students. We are also extremely excited and optimistic about the future of the university. From this place of strength and success, with exceptional leadership, outstanding faculty, world-class students, and the impactful work of our schools, colleges, Knight Campus, Ballmer Institute, academic initiatives, and more—the University of Oregon heads into the future with great optimism and momentum. We are prepared for a new era of excellence, impact, and service to our students, community, and world as one of the country’s leading public research universities.
The board will move expeditiously to appoint an interim president. The interim president is expected to begin their service prior to the start of the academic year. At the board’s regular board meeting on September 15-16, trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the university’s permanent president.
President Schill leaves a lasting legacy of excellence at the University of Oregon. The board thanks him for his transformational leadership and looks forward to all he will accomplish at Northwestern.
Ginevra Ralph is chair of the board of trustees, University of Oregon.