Michael D. Johnson, dean of the School of Hotel Administration, will leave Cornell to become the Provost at Babson College in Massachusetts this July.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Michael Johnson as the new provost of Babson College,” said Babson President Kerry Healey in an announcement published Friday. “Michael is an accomplished academic and administrator who will bring valued leadership to our community.”
Johnson expressed excitement in joining Babson College, which he said is “well positioned to grow and excel in the years to come.”
“I embrace the opportunity to help lead this dynamic institution, and am committed to fostering a student-focused environment and building an inclusive community,” he said.
Johnson stepped into his position as dean of the Hotel School on July 1, 2006. His departure follows the recent and controversial decision to create the new College of Business, which will merge the School of Hotel Administration with the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Acting President and Provost Michael Kotlikoff has stressed that the new college will not affect the unique identities of the three schools.
“A unified College will advance Cornell’s mission to apply knowledge for public purpose and educate the next generation of leaders and creators to benefit society and solve some of the world’s major challenges,” Kotlikoff said.
Despite Kotlikoff’s reassurances, many students and alumni remain unconvinced.
“Essentially all I’ve heard [is] both, ‘We’re doing a new thing and everything’s going to get better,’ and at the same time, ‘Nothing’s going to change,’” hotel school student Ian Kimmel ’16 said at an open forum on the College of Business last month. “You can’t do both.”
Kotlikoff has been trying to alleviate student, alumni and faculty concerns over the months following the announcement, saying the merged schools will remain unique.
“Critically, part of this plan is not just to bring [the three schools] together into one college but also to maintain the identity and focus of those schools,” Kotlikoff said. “That’s important because as people hear about this, the first thing they think about is the school’s identity is going away.”