David Hirsh Appointed Executive Vice President for Research

July 25, 2003

Dear Columbia Community,

I have several announcements to make about changes within the administration.

Over the past year, it has become clear to me that the University would benefit greatly by having someone at the level of an executive vice president whose focus could be on the manifold issues involving research, especially in the sciences and social sciences -- from matters of compliance, to facilitating external funding opportunities, to helping us think through university-level policies with respect to research. I am very pleased to say that David Hirsh has agreed to assume these responsibilities as the new Executive Vice President for Research at Columbia. He will begin on September 1.

Many of you who know David, and are familiar with his great character and human warmth, also know how fortunate we are to have him as a colleague. Here I would just add a few words about his professional biography. David has been at Columbia since 1990 as the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a distinguished molecular biologist working in the fields of molecular genetics of development and nucleic acid structure and function. His research has focused on gene expression in early development and the processing and maturation of messenger RNA. More recently, David has sought to define the molecular basis of the inflammatory response.

David has also worked in the private sector. From 1985 to 1990, he was Executive Vice President and Director of Research at Synergen, Inc., a biotechnology company whose purpose was to develop proteins as therapeutics for treating disease.
I am extremely pleased that David Hirsh is willing to become Columbia's first Executive Vice President for Research.

I would also like to use the occasion to note two other changes. First, I have asked Robert Kasdin, as Senior Executive Vice President, to assume full responsibility for matters involving University finances. John Masten, the Executive Vice President for Finance, will now report to Robert Kasdin. And, second, I have changed Susan Feagin's title to Executive Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.


Lee C. Bollinger