UO's Board of Trustees appointed university provost and senior vice president Patrick Phillips as interim university president during a virtual session August 16. Phillips was appointed unanimously by the board after being nominated by chairperson Ginevra Ralph.
His appointment will take effect August 20. From there, Phillips will serve as interim president until a replacement is selected by the Board of Trustees.
Following the announcement, Phillips voiced his enthusiasm to serve as interim university president and to aid in the university's period of growth and prosperity which he accredited to outgoing president Michael Schill.
“[I] will invest all of my energy to help define how we could best serve our broader role as a university,” he said, “to capitalize on our place and become the true university for Oregon.”
He also announced his decision to appoint Janet Woodruff-Borden, vice provost for academic affairs, to take over his former role as university vice president.
Phillips' appointment takes place shortly after the resignation of UO president Michael Schill just a week prior. Schill will go on to serve as president of Northwestern University in Illinois.
Phillips takes on this role during a potentially high-stakes period for UO, with the recent announcement of the Ballmer Institute for Children's Behavioral Health in Portland, the overall expansion of the university's Portland campus, and the next phase of the recently-founded Knight Campus.
However, Phillips will also be a familiar face for many of his projects, having served as acting executive director of the Knight Campus starting in 2016 before being selected as a special advisor to Schill in 2018, and finally taking over as provost and vice president in 2019.
Phillips has been with UO since 2000, when he started as a professor in the biology department. Since then, he has become well known for his research in genetics, and currently serves as the associate vice president of research for the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at UO.