President Carter announces early retirement in 2013

By Heather Scroering

In an email from President Warrick L. Carter sent on May 8 to the Columbia community, Carter announced his decision to retire in August 2013, one year earlier than his expected retirement in 2014.

While Carter will be serving as president for the next academic year, Board of Trustees member Warren Chapman has been appointed senior vice president to help with Carter’s and the future president’s transition as well as facilitate the implementation undertakings for the year-long prioritization process. Chapman’s two-year term will begin June 1. Not only will he be leaving his position of six years as vice chancellor for external affairs at University of Illinois at Chicago, Chapman will also step down from the Board of Trustees after nine years.

A presidential search committee will be developed to begin a nation-wide hunt for a new president, according to the email. Below is Carter’s email in full.

I joined Columbia College Chicago in 2000 with a vision of fostering excellence in arts and media education and a passion to better position the College as a leader in its field. Twelve years later, I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made, and the extraordinary work our community has undertaken to ensure Columbia’s successful future is nothing short of awe inspiring.

Our successes are significant and many. They include growing our enrollment by more than 25 percent to a record 12,500 students and our metropolitan campus to more than 2.5 million square feet; expanding our recruitment strategy to include all 50 states and almost 50 countries; successfully launching our first ever strategic fundraising campaign, This is Columbia’s Moment, and then unveiling Focus 2016 as the College’s second strategic plan; and, most recently, embarking upon a critical, unprecedented and extensive self-evaluation of our programs and operations to ensure we remain the best in our field.

We are reaching the point in our transformation where I believe new leadership should shape the roll-out and affect the implementation of Blueprint|Prioritization over the coming years. After reading the recommendations from the community, it became clear that strategic implementation will take a good period of time—and we need to start now and expedite the leadership transition to support implementation before 2014 (my scheduled retirement date). With that expeditious transition in mind, I have decided to retire in August 2013, following 13 years at Columbia. I informed the Chairman of the Board about my decision in early spring and the Board of Trustees a few weeks ago. I wanted to let you, the Columbia College community, know as soon as a transition plan was finalized.

To assist with the transition between current and future leadership, and to ensure consistency and excellence around the process of making curricular and operational changes, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Warren Chapman will join us for a two-year appointment as Senior Vice President (effective June 1). Dr. Chapman has served as a Columbia College Chicago Trustee for the past nine years and was most recently Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at University of Illinois at Chicago and has an active, 20-year relationship with Columbia as a funder and supporter via his previous high-profile philanthropy-focused positions in Chicago. We are thrilled to have Warren join us for the next two years to oversee implementation of Blueprint|Prioritization and serve as liaison during the leadership transition.

Moreover, a presidential search committee will soon be formed to actively seek and vet candidates for the position, and they will provide updates to you on their progress.

It has been with great pleasure that I’ve worked alongside all of you for the past 12 years, and I look forward to another successful and productive 12 months. Our College and community are poised for more great things in the coming years.

With kind regards,

Warrick L. Carter, Ph.D.

President, Columbia College Chicago