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What People Are Saying

Daniel Diermeier, Vanderbilt University’s Ninth Chancellor

What People Are Saying

“Daniel has the vision, leadership experience and deep commitment to trans-institutional research and teaching that we were seeking in our ninth chancellor. I am thrilled with this decision,” Evans said. “He embodies Vanderbilt’s values and has a keen understanding of what makes Vanderbilt special—academic excellence made possible by a highly collaborative community. Daniel also shares Vanderbilt’s commitment to making an elite education accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their background or ability to pay, a commitment informed by his own experiences as a first-generation college student,” Evans continued. “His intellectual and strategic acumen, as well as his enthusiasm for our mission, will make him an outstanding chancellor.”

Bruce Evans
Chairman, Vanderbilt University Board of Trust

“I am deeply grateful for Daniel’s many contributions to the University of Chicago, and for the energy and insight that he has brought to a wide range of priorities,” said University of Chicago President, Robert J. Zimmer. “His work produced a positive legacy of academic eminence that will continue to benefit faculty, students, staff, and the University as a whole for years to come.  I have every confidence that Daniel will make a profound and meaningful impact in his role as Chancellor at Vanderbilt University. “

Robert J. Zimmer
President, University of Chicago

“We were seeking someone who shares Vanderbilt’s core values and has the proven ability to manage an organization as complex as Vanderbilt,” said Vice Admiral (Retired) Nora Tyson, an alumna who is a member of the Board of Trust and of the Search Committee. “Daniel’s approach to his role at the University of Chicago, which included extensive financial responsibilities, close relationships with their medical center and national laboratories and a constant focus on undergraduate and graduate education, proved his abilities in these areas and I believe has given him the experience Vanderbilt needs today.”

Vice Admiral (Retired) Nora Tyson
Member, Vanderbilt University Board of Trust

“The Advisory Committee gathered and analyzed feedback from more than 2,500 Vanderbilt community members, and the committee’s report showed substantial agreement across all stakeholders on the experience, professional and personal characteristics, and leadership style needed to lead Vanderbilt. As one colleague observed, ‘Vanderbilt needs someone with a bold, innovative and inclusive vision for the future … I very much hope that our next chancellor will be able to hold many things to be true at once,’” John Geer, Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science said. “Daniel’s background and approach line up exceptionally well with that particular hope and the overall findings of the committee.”

John Geer
Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science

“This appointment affirms Vanderbilt’s best vision for itself as articulated in the Advisory Committee’s report on all the data it gathered in the early days of the search process: Diermeier’s appointment supports Vanderbilt’s best aspirations toward academic excellence—both in teaching and research,” said Dana Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies. “I’m particularly heartened that we were able to bring on board an innovator with an established record of inclusive excellence from an institution with strong commitments to diversity broadly construed, not least intellectual diversity, which is the foundation for the free inquiry that remains academia’s most important mission.”

Dana Nelson
Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies

“Of all the outstanding candidates we considered, I was struck the most by Daniel’s ability to pinpoint exactly what is unique about Vanderbilt and how those differences present us with tremendous opportunities in the coming years,” said Martha R. Ingram, who served as Board of Trust chairman from 1999 to 2011 and was a member of the search committee. “It was essential to me that we find a proven leader who will build on our investments and vision and take us to the next level, and I am confident that Daniel is that leader.”

Martha R. Ingram
Former Chairman (1999 to 2011), Vanderbilt University Board of Trust

“Daniel is a visionary leader who brings a focus on academic excellence and impact to all that he oversees,” said Sian Beilock, president of Barnard College. “I am confident that Vanderbilt will benefit tremendously from having him at the helm and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the years to come.”


Sian Beilock
President, Barnard College, Columbia University

“We were impressed by Daniel’s holistic approach to scholarship, his innovative ideas about higher education and his proven commitment to outstanding teaching,” said David A. Owens, Evans Family Executive Director of Vanderbilt’s innovation center, The Wond’ry, and a member of both committees. “He understands, fundamentally, the significant opportunities that Vanderbilt has because we have leveraged our trans-disciplinary approach and our many active collaborations. He also understands the unique opportunities that our dynamic hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, offers with its creative and growing civic and business communities.”

David A. Owens
Evans Family Executive Director of The Wond’ry

“Daniel understands that fostering diversity and inclusion is absolutely essential to an academic community,” said Sarah Igo, Andrew Jackson Professor of History, faculty head of E. Bronson Ingram College, and a member of both committees. “We were impressed by his unbending commitment to this principle—and even more so by the concrete ways he has put it into practice. Daniel’s efforts to ensure access to college for students of all backgrounds and his sterling track record in building a diverse faculty and staff are vital strengths he will bring to Vanderbilt.”

Sarah Igo
Andrew Jackson Professor of History, faculty head of E. Bronson Ingram College

“Vanderbilt University is on an amazing trajectory owing to the visionary and intentional leadership that has been inclusive of the voices across our many stakeholders and community. Chancellor Diermeier is a very accomplished academic leader who can advance our community in our collective goals of creating new knowledge through scholarship, teaching, and discovery,” said John McLean, Stevenson Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Faculty Senate. “Chancellor Diermeier brings to Vanderbilt new ideas and experiences to transform and position our incredible institution for the challenges and needs of tomorrow. We look forward to progressing towards our common mission and reinforcing our shared values in partnership with Chancellor Diermeier.”

John McLean
Stevenson Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Faculty Senate

“Daniel is one of the best-known scholars in formal political theory…but the most amazing thing is that Daniel is a full-blood scientist who does not slow down,” said Mattias Polborn, E. Bronson Ingram Chair and Professor of Economics. “He remained actively involved in cutting-edge research while holding high-level administrative positions. But, more generally, I also think it is great for Vanderbilt as a whole to have a leader who fundamentally cares about research. This is the overwhelming feedback that I have received when talking with colleagues throughout the university. They see Daniel as a leader who is ready to take Vanderbilt to the next level, and I wholeheartedly agree.”

Mattias Polborn
E. Bronson Ingram Chair and Professor of Economics