President Krislov Announces Departure Plans

September 6, 2016

Communications Staff

view of building with architectural columns
The Cox Administration Building, designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert.
Photo credit: Greg Pendolino

Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin College & Conservatory, announced today that he plans to leave his position on June 30, 2017, after leading the institution for 10 years.

In a personal statement to the Oberlin community, Krislov wrote, "Serving this great college, conservatory, and community has been an honor and a privilege. Working with our terrific faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni to further Oberlin’s mission and to honor Oberlin’s values has been the most educational and fulfilling experience of my life.”

At Oberlin, Krislov's ideas, energy and collaborative approach have produced many accomplishments that will benefit the college, conservatory, and the city of Oberlin for years to come. He led efforts to make Oberlin more diverse, inclusive, and accessible to students from every socioeconomic background. The Oberlin Access Initiative and the creation of the Oberlin College Research Fellowships are examples of the attention he paid to the challenges facing low-income and first-generation students.

During his tenure, Oberlin Conservatory was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and opened the acclaimed Bertram and Judith Kohl building, housing the departments of jazz, music theory, and music history. A staunch advocate for the arts, Krislov set in motion the $12 million renovation of the college’s renowned Allen Memorial Art Museum. He also initiated the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival.

Oberlin also entered a new era of environmental action and sustainability with the launch of the Oberlin Project, the Green Arts District, and the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center. Krislov oversaw major expansion and renovation of Oberlin's physical plant, including construction of a new power plant that ended the college’s use of coal as a heating fuel source, acquisition and remodeling of the Apollo Theatre, support for the East College Street Project, and the renovation of numerous residence halls.

Krislov worked tirelessly to make Oberlin Illuminate the most successful comprehensive campaign in the college's history, raising over $317 million and significantly exceeding the campaign goal of $250 million. He played a leading role in revitalizing Oberlin’s health and wellness and athletics programs and facilities. That includes instigating and driving fundraising for the Knowlton Athletics complex, by securing an $8 million gift from the Knowlton Foundation — the largest gift to date by a non-Oberlin donor. He increased alumni engagement, through travel, outreach, and creating the President’s Advisory Council. His significant personal philanthropy benefited Oberlin’s students, as well as the local community.

Through his writings, speeches, and public appearances, and his membership on the National Council on the Humanities, Krislov has raised Oberlin’s international and national profile while championing the value of liberal arts education. He opened the campus to a wider range of speakers and guests, while welcoming alumni back to share their expertise and to help create new pathways to success for our students.

On a local and regional level, he positioned Oberlin to serve as a driver of economic development. He forged new community partnerships and strengthened existing ones, such as the collaboration between the city of Oberlin, the Oberlin City Schools, the college, and the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Krislov is deeply engaged with Oberlin’s students and the institution’s outstanding academic tradition. Fellowships awarded to students and research grants awarded to faculty increased under his leadership. He also taught a politics class every semester of his presidency. And for the past three years, he offered to meet with any graduating senior seeking career advice. Hundreds of students took advantage of that offer.

Krislov became the 14th president of Oberlin College in the summer of 2007. He came to Oberlin from the University of Michigan, where he had been vice president and general counsel since 1998. He led the University of Michigan’s legal defense of its admission policies, resulting in the 2003 Supreme Court decision recognizing the importance of student body diversity.

Clyde McGregor, chair of Oberlin's Board of Trustees, said, "Marvin has always embraced Oberlin’s students and its great tradition of transformational teaching, research, scholarship and mentoring. I deeply appreciate his unwavering leadership and vision through good times and difficult times. His many contributions will benefit generations to come."

Succession plans are under way and will be announced by the Board of Trustees in the coming weeks.