University appoints new executive vice chancellor for administration

Puneet Kollipara
Courtesy of WUSTL Images

Washington University and its administration will welcome a new executive vice chancellor next semester.

Chancellor Mark Wrighton recently announced the appointment of Henry Webber, currently the vice president for community and government affairs at the University of Chicago, to the position.

Webber, whose appointment will begin on March 1, 2008, fills the void left by former Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration John Klein, who left the University in August to serve as the new president of Randolph College.

As executive vice chancellor for administration, Webber will serve as the University’s highest-ranking administrative official and will be in charge of facilities, transportation, capital projects, campus planning, real estate and development, security, campus health and environmental sustainability.

“My hope is that I can contribute to Washington University, which is one of the world’s great universities, becoming an even greater university, and I hope I can contribute across a variety of areas,” said Webber. “I also hope that I can contribute to the revitalization and to the continued development of the city of St. Louis.”

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Hank’s level of experience join the senior leadership team at Washington University,” said Wrighton in a University press release. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to our community-knowledge about managing a great university and also knowledge about how great universities can have a positive impact in their local communities. I look forward to working with Hank in the era that lies ahead.”

Wrighton was out of town at press time and could not be reached for additional comment.

Webber joined the University of Chicago in 1986 as a lecturer in the School of Social Services Administration and as the deputy director of financial planning and budget.

Since then he has held numerous administrative positions, most recently being appointed University of Chicago’s vice president for community affairs in 1997 and vice president for community affairs and government in 2001.

In a letter to the school’s faculty and staff, University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer praised Webber for his contributions not only to the school community but also to the greater Chicago community.

“Hank has given extraordinary service to the University of Chicago during his 21 years as an administrator and instructor, and we will be sorry to lose him,” said Zimmer. “But his new position at Washington University is a wonderful opportunity, and we wish him well in this new phase of his career.”

Webber stated that he would miss the city of Chicago and the University of Chicago, but also that he looks forward to the new opportunity.

“I was extraordinarily impressed by the Chancellor and also by the other leaders of the University whom I met,” said Webber. “And I thought this was an institution where I could contribute.”

In his 21 years at Chicago, Webber had been responsible for strengthening the school’s relationship with the city of Chicago and for several administrative functions, including labor relations, police, human resources, the famed Court Theatre, the International House and the school’s off-campus real estate portfolio.

As vice president for community and government affairs, Webber led a massive effort to promote the revitalization of the surrounding Woodlawn and Kenwood-Oakland neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side by collaborating with the area’s political, civic and religious leaders.

Webber is perhaps best known for his role in public education, in creating what is now known as the Urban Education Initiative (UEI)

“One of the things that he was really an integral part of is the founding of our charter schools,” said Julie Peterson, vice president for communications at the University of Chicago. “The University of Chicago has a very innovative program in charter school work in the city of Chicago, and he’s been an essential player in that.”

A University of Chicago initiative involving interdisciplinary teams from nearly all of the school’s departments, the UEI develops charter schools, offers training to teachers and promotes research on educational issues. Through the UEI, the University of Chicago has operated the Kenwood-Oakland Charter School since 1998, and there are plans to open four more schools in the coming years.

He also led a joint effort by the University of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to revitalize Midway Plaisance Park through the construction of a permanent skating rink, new gardens and playing fields.

Webber earned his B.A. from Brown University in 1980 and his Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Leave a Reply