Trustee chairman resigns after customary six years, will still lead Medical Center board

James Crown, chairman of the University Board of Trustees, worked to secure federal funding for research.

By Kate Shepherd

James Crown, chairman of the University Board of Trustees, announced last week he will step down at the end of the academic year.

Crown’s departure as chairman will end his sixth year in that position, the usual tenure a chairman serves, according to David Fithian, secretary of the University and friend of Crown. Crown will remain a member of the Board of Trustees.

During his tenure, Crown oversaw the completion of the Chicago Initiative, the University’s largest fundraising drive, and a major organizational overhaul of the Medical Center. Crown will continue to serve as chairman of the Medical Center Board of Trustees and the Medical Center Executive Committee.

“Crown served through an important time of change at the University. He oversaw a presidential transition,” Fithian said. “It was key that Crown was chair during this time. His leadership was key in picking President Zimmer.”

In a release this week, University President Robert Zimmer mentioned Crown’s efforts to shape Chicago’s Olympic bid and his work toward securing contracts for Argonne National Laboratories and Fermilab.

“I am deeply grateful for Jim’s leadership, which has served the Board and the University remarkably well, and I am delighted that we will continue to benefit from his energy, ideas, and support as a Trustee in the years ahead,” Zimmer said in the release.

Crown was an important advocate of the University of Chicago’s business community, according to Fithian. Crown is the president of Henry Crown and Company and is on the boards of the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will nominate a successor at their monthly meeting later this month. The full Board of Trustees will vote on the Executive Committee’s nominee at their meeting in March. Crown’s successor will take over as chairman in June.