Former UC Berkeley dean appointed president of University of Michigan

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Mark Schlissel, a former UC Berkeley dean of biological sciences and professor of immunology and pathogenesis, was appointed the 14th president of the University of Michigan following unanimous approval by the university’s regents on Friday.

Schlissel, who joined UC Berkeley as an associate professor in 1999, has worn several academic hats, including scientist, lecturer and administrator.  While at UC Berkeley, he studied the development of B lymphocytes, cells in the immune system that secrete antibodies, and taught immunology to undergraduate and graduate students. He co-authored nearly 100 scientific papers over the course of his career.

“He very much had an eye for possible applications (of his research) to medicine,” said David Raulet, co-chair of the department.

Raulet said Schlissel rose quickly through the ranks in the department, becoming a full professor in 2002 and the dean of the biological science division of the College of Letters and Science six years later. He described Schlissel as an organized, articulate leader whose great virtue was the need to serve his community.

“He had a very palpable desire to serve and be a leader in whatever effort he was involved in,” Raulet said.

Schlissel was named provost at Brown University in 2011, where he helped establish the School of Public Health and expand the engineering program. In an open letter to the campus, Brown University President Christina Paxson described Schlissel as having a rare combination of energy, thoughtfulness and distinction.

“Mark is an exceptional scholar, teacher, and academic leader,” she wrote. “His many contributions will be realized for decades to come.”

Schlissel will formally enter office July 1. He succeeds University of Michigan president Mary Coleman.