The University’s senior administration announced on Monday that David Wippman, vice provost for international relations and professor of law, will vacate his position at the end of the spring 2008 semester. Pending approval by the Board of Regents, Wippman will become dean of the University of Minnesota Law School on July 1, 2008.
Wippman joined the faculty of the Cornell Law School in 1992 as a professor of law and later rose to become the University’s first vice provost for international relations.
He described his past 15 years at Cornell as “a tremendous experience” and stated that he will sincerely miss his colleagues and the friends he made at the University.
The position of vice provost, according to Wippman, initially entailed “creating, organizing, and structuring the office [of international affairs]. The office had to be built from scratch and we had to determine its objective,” he said.
Wippman was an instigator in the process of making Cornell what President David Skorton has referred to as an “international university.” While Wippman acknowledged that the internationalization of the University has been a “continuous process,” he also claimed that in many respects, “the University has been international since its inception.”
With an extensive background in the fields of international law and human rights, Wippman developed collaborations with universities around the world, specifically in Asia. He improved the University’s means of bringing international students to study at Cornell.
Throughout his tenure, Wippman acknowledged that international initiatives grew substantially and the University expanded its global reach. He cited that the University’s internationalization is exemplified by an increased number of international students and faculty in addition to a rise in the number of students studying abroad.
According to Simeon Moss ’73, director of Cornell Press Relations, the creation and further success of Wippman’s position as vice provost is “indicative of the effort of the past two administrations and the current one towards looking at Cornell more robustly and from an international perspective.”
Aside from his administrative work, Wippman taught courses in international law and human rights.
Before coming to Cornell, Wippman graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and later received both a master’s degree and a doctorate in law from Yale. Upon graduating from Yale, Wippman worked as a law clerk to Hon. Wilfred Feinberg, Chief Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then worked for a private practice in Washington D.C., representing various foreign countries in litigation in United States and international courts.
After coming to Cornell, Wippman took a year’s absence in 1998 to serve as Director of the National Security Council’s Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs for the Clinton Administration.
He acknowledged a number of contributing factors that lead to his decision to end his term at Cornell.
“I have been interested in being a dean for a number of years,” said Wippman, a Minnesota native. Additionally, Wippman said he was intrigued by the quality of the University of Minnesota Law School and recognized the opportunities he would have to make an impact on the institution.
“With Cornell being the institution that it is, it is not surprising that [members of the faculty] are getting offers to go other places,” Moss said. “These offers speak for their excellence.”
According to the University, Provost Biddy Martin congratulated Wippman on his appointment: “[Wippman] has distinguished himself at Cornell as a scholar, teacher and administrator and his departure is a great loss. As vice provost for international relations, David has played a critical role in developing strategies and building relationships within Cornell and across the world. It has been wonderful working with him, and I will miss him a great deal.”
Skorton further praised Wippman as he said in a press release, “David is an outstanding scholar and superb colleague. The University of Minnesota is fortunate to have David join its leadership; he will be sorely missed by all of his friends at Cornell.”
After Wippman leaves, the vacancy will be filled with someone appointed by the provost. Wippman asserted that following his departure, “There will be an evolution in the work of the office”.
When asked if there are any potential candidates for the position, Moss replied, “It’s too soon to say.”