Yudof’s year marks a fairy tale success

The love affair may be fading, but the spark is still alive. Although the honeymoon period of his administration is drawing to a close, University President Mark Yudof has already made his “mark.” Many University students know him as the president with the pancake passion. But in his first year, Yudof has had a large presence on campus. By combining his administrative power with a “man of the people” approach, Yudof has successfully followed through with several goals that have reaped substantial rewards for students and staff alike. With his one-year anniversary as University president a month away, Yudof has proven to be a motivated and productive leader for the school.
Early in his first year, Yudof touted five areas to focus on: molecular and cellular biology, design, digital technology, multimedia and agriculture and research. He has made concentrated efforts to promote his plans for these specific areas. But his greatest accomplishment has been the success of the University’s $249 million budget request. Regardless of what he may achieve during his administration, Yudof’s legacy will be in his tireless efforts to obtain this seemingly overambitious request from the Legislature.
Yudof took a risk when he refused to prioritize items in the University’s budget request. Legislators wanted to know what could be sacrificed in case they had to cut money from the full request. Yudof’s strategy paid off handsomely. It captured nearly $243 million that will be used for new buildings, improved classrooms and faculty pay raises. Although Yudof did not single-handedly obtain the funds, his drive certainly created a major push that led to the eventual success of the request. Yudof’s good standing as a new president also produced goodwill toward him and the University. Yudof must continue to use his untainted reputation to vigorously pursue future projects.
Yudof’s concern for keeping the University technologically advanced is likely to be integrated into future projects. His plan to create a Walter Library Digital Technology Center promises to keep the University competitive in a fast-changing world. Along with the technological fields, Yudof has been a supporter of the biological sciences, encouraging the construction of the new Molecular and Cellular Biology Building. The push for advancement in these rapidly changing fields shows that Yudof’s first priority is the quality of education. The president has also worked to downsize the administration this year. Similar policies frequently bring about turmoil, but the president’s downsizing methods are both reasonable and fair. He plans to eliminate already vacant positions, and has already consolidated three provost positions into one. Using these methods, productivity remains constant while dollars are saved.
Despite the positive impression he has left on the University thus far, Yudof must not lose his motivation or let his first-year successes carry him through the rest of his presidency. He needs to continue working toward the goals that will take the University into the 21st century. With the honeymoon over and many of his goals underway, Yudof must follow his initiatives to the end before handing the baton to the next president.