Monday, July 15, 2013


Turn your back for a moment and they name a new president for the University of California.  Inside Higher Education (and others?) is treating it as a "surprise pick," but is it?   Granted that most university prexies scratch their way up through the chairs, still it seems by now quite a number of figures who have made the leap from Washington into the university front office but it isn't really all that new.  My bud Joel mentions Terry Sanford, Donna Shalala, Mitch Daniels.  I see him and raise him Bob Kerrey and John Brademas. 

 Remember Brademas?  Wiki reminds us he was the Democratic party heavyweight who left Congress to become president of NYU (1981-92).  Brademas was on the edge of my radar in my newspaper days and I remember thinking that it was an odd choice.  But then, no.  The job of a University president is to orchestrate an illimitable range of feuding constituencies, and to funnel money; in short. to manage the kind of Roldex you bring with you from Capitol Hill.

Unencumbered by any specific knowledge, I'd guess that Napolitano may have decided that it wasn't worth hanging around Washington waiting for either the Attorney Generalship or the Supreme Court.  My notion is that she is likely to be pretty good at what she was hired to do.  Maybe the really interesting question, at least for University insiders, is: who will be her provost.

1 comment:

Nancy Rapoport said...

You're absolutely right (as always). Her choice of provost will be key.