Yale University President Richard Levin has announced that at the end of the school year, his twentieth at the helm of Yale University, he will step down. The New York Times coverage outlined his achievements:
Under his presidency, the university has greatly expanded its academic facilities, including new quarters for science and medicine and a new business school campus; has overhauled its buildings, including all 12 undergraduate residential colleges; has started construction of two residential colleges to make room for the first major expansion in undergraduate enrollment in decades; and has embarked on new programs overseas. “Rick’s presidency hasn’t been revolutionary,” said Anthony Kronman, a former law school dean. “It’s been a steady, persistent accumulation that, I would say, add up to a massive set of achievements.” Dr. Levin’s administration has increased Yale’s endowment faster than those of its peers, despite heavy capital spending; as of mid-2011, it stood at $19.4 billion, second only to Harvard’s.
Levin has certainly between a master fundraiser, and he has increased the quantity and quality of university facilities that had deteriorated after many years of deferred maintenance. He has also improved relations with both the city of New Haven and the local unions, largely by giving into their demands, in a sense another type of deferred maintenance.
When it comes to intellectual leadership, however, Levin’s epitaph should not be so sunny.