Tenafly High School '96 Tenafly, N.J. Former University Provost Stanley Chodorow learned an unfortunate lesson this year -- sometimes, not everything goes according to plan. In late October, Chodorow, 54, announced he was resigning his position, the top academic post at the University, to pursue the vacant presidency at the University of Texas at Austin. And that is exactly what happened. The University of Texas System Board of Regents instead chose Larry Faulkner, provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as president of the country's largest university. The January 12 announcement came 1 1/2 months after Chodorow resigned his Penn position to pursue the post. But his original decision to resign was hardly a surprise to the University community, as UT-Austin was at least the fifth school in a year to contact Chodorow about presidential openings. Since the fall of 1996, the former provost also contended for top posts at the University of Arizona, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Michigan, coming up short each time. And last November, he was named as one of two finalists for the presidency of Tulane University in New Orleans, but he withdrew from the race, explaining that UT-Austin would be a "better match." Chodorow said the Texas announcement presented him with "the right time" to leave the post he has held since 1994, when he came to Penn from the University of California at San Diego. Although he said that he did not actively seek out any of the positions, Chodorow said he intends "to become a president." Despite a rocky beginning -- in which he was criticized for his handling of a controversial new student judicial code, among other matters -- Chodorow left his position proud of his contributions to the undergraduate experience. He referred specifically to projects such as the 21st Century Plan, an initiative to increase academic and research opportunities, the newly-released college house residential plan and the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum and the Speaking Across the University projects that were implemented last year. If he had more time, Chodorow said, he would have liked to develop more hubs for focused student groups on campus. Using the Kelly Writers House as a model, he said he would like to see hubs for community service, international programs and visual-arts groups at the University. A search committee comprised of both faculty and students hopes to find a permanent replacement for Chodorow by August. In the meantime, the University selected Deputy Provost Michael Wachter to take over as interim provost, effective January 1. Wachter stressed that Chodorow's initiatives are integral to the transformation of undergraduate education. "It is to Stan Chodorow's credit that much of the fine work he and President Rodin began together has been carried on so effectively and without disruption," Wachter said. "That is a terrific testament to his management and leadership style." And administrators were confident that Chodorow's initiatives had sufficient momentum behind them to survive the provost's departure. "When he left as provost, Dr. Chodorow left a strong, able team of individuals in place to carry on this work," Wachter said. On his major projects, Chodorow worked closely with faculty and administrators, and appointed a student board for the 21st Century Plan to advise administrators on programs under its purview. During his final days as provost, Chodorow headed a committee which investigated officials' handling of star defensive tackle and 1998 College graduate Mitch Marrow's eligibility to play football. Chodorow communicated his findings to the NCAA, which forced Penn to forfeit every winning game in the 1997 season in which Marrow played, dropping Penn's 6-4 record to 1-9. Before he stepped down, Chodorow said he wishes he could have accomplished more, but noted that "you don't have to accomplish everything to accomplish a lot."Comments powered by Disqus
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