Michael H. Schill, the president of the University of Oregon, has been named the 17th president of Northwestern University, Northwestern’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday.
Schill will begin his presidency this fall.
Schill has led Oregon since 2015 and holds a tenured faculty appointment in the University of Oregon School of Law.
He previously served as dean at the University of Chicago Law School and of the UCLA School of Law, and was a chaired professor at NYU and the University of Pennsylvania.
A first-generation college graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Princeton University and a law degree from Yale.
Schill’s scholarship focuses on affordable housing, land use and race discrimination in the housing market.
“I am thrilled, honored and humbled to join Northwestern, one of the world’s most prominent universities,” Schill said. “Northwestern has a long tradition of educating the brightest minds and pushing the boundaries of research and innovation.”
Schill said he looks forward to enhancing Northwestern’s standing as an innovation hub for the Chicago area, for Illinois, for the nation and the world.
Schill’s selection comes 16 months after President Morton Schapiro announced his departure, having served for more than a decade at the helm of Northwestern.
The University named Rebecca Blank as Schapiro’s successor in October 2021. In July 2022, Blank announced that she was diagnosed with cancer and would be unable to fulfill her role as president.
Following Blank’s announcement, the Chair of the Board of Trustees reengaged Northwestern’s 34-member Presidential Search Committee, which ultimately recommended Schill to the Board of Trustees.
Peter Barris, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and incoming chair of the Board of Trustees said Schill’s selection “reflects the values and input of our community and institution and was informed by his deep commitment to research and academic rigor, his focus on student access and success, his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated administrative leadership.”
Schill was born in Schenectady, N.Y. His father worked in a clothing factory and his mother was a registered nurse.
“The thing I am most proud of is that I am a first-gen college grad,” he said. “I know deep in my bones how a great education can transform one’s life and I want to continue Northwestern’s progress in this area.”
While at the University of Chicago Schill says he developed a deep love for the Chicago metropolitan area.
His sister and parents moved to Chicago during the same period, and after he left the University of Chicago for Oregon, he continued to travel to Chicago monthly, visiting his parents and sister, favorite bookstores, restaurants and enjoying the city’s architecture.
“I love the Steppenwolf Theatre and the Goodman Theatre,” he said. “And there is no city in the nation with architecture as beautiful and awe inspiring as Chicago. It’s a great place to live, work and study.”
“I am committed to diversity,” Schill said. “The true potential of a place like Northwestern cannot be fulfilled without bringing people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities and identities together as well as students, staff and faculty members who span the spectrum of ideological and political viewpoints.”