A genius, please

By Maroon Editorial Staff

The announcement of President Randel’s departure begins a new and interesting phase in the planning of the future of our university. While the Master Plan and the Chicago Initiative have laid out grand endeavors for this great institution, more importantly and more urgently do we now need a new president to execute these plans and lead us forward. Many members of the University community, including students, staff, and faculty, think of Don Randel as the face of the University of Chicago. He earned this distinction by embodying the very values and goals that make this university so unique, and it is because of this that we regret seeing him go.

As we will wish Don Randel the best of luck in New York and thank him for his great service to this institution, we now turn to James Crown and the Board of Trustees as they begin the search for Randel’s successor. The Board did an exemplary job six years ago choosing President Randel, and we expect nothing less of them this time around. The Maroon urges the Board to first examine Don Randel’s tenure to try to understand exactly why he was such a good fit for this university. Above anything else, Randel’s success was because he understood and believed in exactly what this university is about: providing the absolute best liberal academic experience and preparing the best minds of tomorrow for leading the world or becoming the next generation of U of C professors (often viewed as one and the same).

A successor should be chosen on the basis of his or her unwavering commitment to the Core (not a core) and the ability to successfully complete the Chicago Initiative and carry out the vision set out by the Master Plan. As the Board of Trustees proceeds, we advise them to take these recommendations to heart and to also heavily consult the student body—as we have no doubt they have planned to do—making sure to include a diverse sample of students who can accurately articulate the desires of a very complex community.

In his July op-ed column regarding the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, New York Times columnist and U of C alumnus David Brooks urged President Bush to “pick a genius.” We believe similar advice applies in our current situation. Mr. Crown and the rest of the Board: Please pick an academic powerhouse.