After over a year and a half of controversy, transition and searches within the University’s largest college, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 announced on Dec. 18 that G. Peter Lepage will become the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on a permanent basis. Lepage had served as the dean on an interim basis since July 1, 2003.
Lepage’s appointment came after a search committee — primarily consisting of faculty members and headed by Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin — was forced to conduct a second search for a new arts dean when Prof. Robert Fefferman, mathematics, University of Chicago, declined the University’s offer last spring and administrators did not have enough time to appoint another candidate.
The first search process started more than a year ago, when Martin and former Cornell president Hunter R. Rawlings III asked for the resignation of Philip E. Lewis, the former Harold Tanner Dean of the arts college. His controversial departure last year came after a series of disagreements with University administrators.
Previously the chair of the physics department, Lepage is certainly no stranger to East Hill — he has lived in Ithaca for 25 years. Combining his familiarity and connections around campus with his positive work as a professor, scholar and interim dean, many were not surprised when the six-foot, four-inch man’s name was called.
Prior to the announcement in Kaufmann Auditorium, some members of the audience made comments suggesting that Lepage’s appointment was fairly obvious. Even Lehman quipped in his opening remarks that “there was a candidate wh