Well, it happened: Dean Zvi Galil has decided to leave “the best job in the world” and accept the position as President of Tel-Aviv University. Bwog and SEAS are sad. Mass emails at Columbia—and indeed, Columbia herself—will never be quite the same. Bwog knows not what to say. Emptiness abounds. Resonates. Echoes. Echoes. Echoes.
Galil made the official announcement today in an email to the SEAS community, here reproduced (after the jump) for your reading displeasure.
“To the SEAS Community,
This is my 25th year at Columbia. I started as a young CS faculty member in 1982, then served as department chair, and, as of 1995, Dean of SEAS—the best job in the world. At the end of this academic year, I will step down to serve as the President of Tel-Aviv University in Israel.
My years at Columbia have been the best. I am grateful to Columbia for giving me the opportunity to work in one of the world’s premier research universities, and to learn how the American system of higher education (the finest in the world) works. I have loved my work here; it has been the best job in the world. I have enjoyed working with our great faculty, terrific students, excellent staff and loyal alumni and parents. Many of them have become close friends. We have made tremendous progress in recent years and we have great momentum.
So why do I leave?
Tel-Aviv University is more than my Alma Mater. My late father was one of its six founders, I earned my BS and MS degrees there, and met my wife there. I served on its faculty full-time for six years and jointly with Columbia until I became dean. In recent years, the University has suffered several setbacks, including a difficult financial situation, a reduction in faculty, and a crisis in morale. I was asked to take on the presidency to help realize its full potential—being the premier university in Israel and in the top tier of universities worldwide.
I thank the faculty of SEAS that has worked so hard to make the School what it is today. I am certain SEAS will continue to thrive, and its excellence will be better recognized in the future. As you all know, not least by looking around at your peers, this is an age of globalization in higher education. Tel-Aviv University and Columbia are separated by an ocean, but that has less meaning than at any prior time in human history. I hope these two institutions will develop a number of relationships.
I will endeavor to apply the values that I learned as a scientist, a teacher, and a dean at Columbia in my new role as president at Tel-Aviv University.
Tags: seas, Tel Aviv University, zvi galil