February 19, 2004

Martin Announces New University Vice Provost

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Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin last week announced that Prof. John Siliciano ’75, law, will become the new University vice provost starting this July. Siliciano, the former interim dean of the Law School, will replace three-year fixture Walter Cohen.

After Cohen expressed his wish to permanently return to research and teaching in the comparative literature department, Siliciano was one of the first potential replacements to come to mind since he previously “expressed an interest in administration at the University level,” according to Martin. The appointment of a new vice provost is usually done exclusively by the provost.

“[Siliciano] served ably as associate dean and vice dean of the Law School for a number of years, and did an excellent job this past semester as the interim dean of the law school,” Martin said.

Formerly the dean of the Graduate School for eight years, Cohen has undertaken several projects and initiatives as vice provost. These include his strong involvement with the Social Sciences Advisory Council, securing funds for Mellon Humanities seminars for faculty and postdoctoral scholars and his attempts to integrate programs of the three departments found in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

Cohen emphasized that he left the position not because he did not enjoy working in administration anymore, but said that potential goals and projects continuously emerge.

“New issues always arise, so if you wait [until] there aren’t any, you will never leave [administration],” Cohen said. “In other words, the timing seemed about right [to leave] in terms of my administrative work.”

According to Martin, Siliciano will spend the next few months working with Cohen and the current provost’s staff to help prepare for the position. Cohen is also confident that the former vice law school dean will do well in his new position.

“I’ve been impressed with the thoughtfulness and good humor with which John has done his work, and I know that my favorable view is widely shared in the Law School — an excellent prognosis for his performance in his new job,” Cohen said.

Siliciano majored in history during his undergraduate years in the University and graduated summa cum laude.

Earning an M.P.A. at Princeton University and a J.D. at Columbia University, he clerked for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, and later on, for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

After gaining experience by working for two law firms in Washington D.C., Siliciano joined the University law school in 1984 as an assistant professor. Last semester, SIliciano was the interim Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School and was one of the five finalists named by the search committee in charge of finding a permanent individual for the position.

Martin said that although it has not be decided what duties Siliciano will inherit, the former East Hill student will continue the move to strengthen international studies and social sciences — issues which Siliciano is enthusiastic in pursuing.

“From my undergraduate days in Cornell’s history department, I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful breadth and depth of this university,” Siliciano said in a University news release. “I am truly honored and excited by this opportunity to serve one of the outstanding educational and research institutions of our times.”

Archived article by Brian Tsao