After five years serving as the University of Chicago's president, Don Randel announced he would be stepping down from his position to become president of the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Randel will continue to act as the University's president until July 1, 2006.
The Mellon foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to furthering the arts and humanities. The foundation, which provided $186 million in grants in 2004, focuses on five specific areas: higher education and scholarship, libraries and scholarly communications, conservation and the environment, museums and art conservation, and performing arts. It is also known for its role in the development of ARTsor, JSTOR and Ithanka, non-profit organizations furthering the use of information technology to benefit higher education around the world.
Randel's many dealings as president included trying to forge stronger relations between the University and the surrounding neighborhood, and leading the Chicago Initiative, the largest fund-raising effort in University history.