Berdahl named interim president

Robert Berdahl portraitThe State Board of Higher Education announced Friday, Dec. 9, that Robert Berdahl will serve as interim president of the University of Oregon.

His appointment will run through September 2012 or until a permanent president is appointed.

Berdahl will take over for Richard Lariviere, whose final day as UO president will be Dec. 28. The state board ended President Lariviere's contract last month. Berdahl had been working as a special assistant to Lariviere this fall.

Berdahl has deep ties to the University of Oregon and is recognized as a national leader in higher education. He was a history professor at the UO from 1967 to 1986 and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1981 to 1986.

He then spent seven years as vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, four years as president of the University of Texas and seven years as chancellor at the University of California-Berkeley.

Berdahl left UC-Berkeley to become president of the Association of American Universities (AAU).  The AAU is an association of 61 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

As AAU president, his policy successes included enactment of the America COMPETES Act — a congressional move to encourage research investment and an improvement in U.S. competitiveness — along with increases in federal support for basic research.

The AAU worked closely under Berdahl with the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the departments of Energy, Defense and Education. It also worked with Congress to prompt a review of the nation's research universities by the National Academy of Sciences.

Photo courtesy MU web communications.