Michael Schill tours Oregon campus during his first working day as president

Eder Campuzano is also an author for this story.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That’s certainly the case with Michael Schill.

The newest University of Oregon president’s tenure may have started on July 1, but he didn’t officially get to work until Monday morning.

Schill started his day meeting with campus operations, dozens of staff from Carson’s central kitchen and various news reporters from the Eugene community. The president took time to shake hands and converse briefly with most of the university employees he met.

It was in the confines of the Carson Hall kitchen that Schill’s sweet tooth was revealed. He told the staff that because his mother wasn’t the best cook, so most of the preparation for his favorite treats was done by Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines before they made their way to the table.

His eyes widened at any mention of brownies, cookies and other baked goods.

“That’s my specialty,” he said.

He wrapped up the kitchen tour with a trip to the bakery, where he spoke with Chef Bron Smith about the central kitchen’s pending relocation to Moss Street. The scent of dough was heavy in the air as he watched a member of the kitchen staff prepare duck-shaped cookies for an event.

Schill was hired as the UO’s newest president on April 14. He’s the first president hired by the Board of Trustees, nearly one year after Michael Gottfredson stepped down from the university’s top administrative post. Schill will be the highest-paid president in UO history, with an annual salary of $660,000.

He comes to the UO from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as dean for five years.

En route to Johnson Hall for an interview with KVAL, Schill said that he’d be spending the next few days doing much of what he had done so far — meet university faculty, staff and administrators to get the lay of the land. He spent some time in Eugene when he was hired, but has only recently begun settling into his new office.

“It’s quite a busy time,” he said. “Busy, but exciting.”

The day was capped off with a meet-and-greet at Allen Hall at 3 p.m. Staff, faculty, students and alumni filled the foyer. Visitors munched on cookies and sipped on lemonade as they waited for their chance to chat with the new university president.

As Schill made his way through the crowd, he stopped and spoke with event attendees, spending more and more time with each individual as the room cleared.

It wasn’t until the first floor of Allen Hall was practically empty that Schill noticed something on the table — it was a platter of cookies in a familiar shape.

“Hey,” he said, “didn’t I see these get made?”

Sure enough, it was the duck-shaped cookies that were being prepared in the Carson kitchen hours earlier.

“I probably shouldn’t be eating these, but oh well,” he said as he reached for a treat.

Follow Lauren Garetto (@laurengaretto) and Eder Campuzano (@edercampuzano) on Twitter.

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Lauren Garetto

Lauren Garetto