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Columbia University president says he’ll retire in June 2023

April 14, 2022 GMT
FILE — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger speaks during a graduation ceremony in New York, May 17, 2017. Bollinger, the legal scholar who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday, April 14, 2022, that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FILE — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger speaks during a graduation ceremony in New York, May 17, 2017. Bollinger, the legal scholar who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday, April 14, 2022, that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FILE — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger speaks during a graduation ceremony in New York, May 17, 2017. Bollinger, the legal scholar who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday, April 14, 2022, that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FILE — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger speaks during a graduation ceremony in New York, May 17, 2017. Bollinger, the legal scholar who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday, April 14, 2022, that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FILE — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger speaks during a graduation ceremony in New York, May 17, 2017. Bollinger, the legal scholar who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday, April 14, 2022, that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Lee Bollinger, who has served as president of Columbia University since 2002, announced Thursday that he will step down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

“I cannot begin to express what it has meant to me to serve in this role for this magnificent University for over two decades,” Bollinger, 75, said in an email to the Columbia community. “Certainly, it has been a defining experience of my life.”

As president, Bollinger oversaw a new 17-acre development a few blocks north of the Ivy League university’s main campus that now houses the Columbia Business School and other facilities.

“There is no more fitting metaphor for Lee’s leadership than the successful construction of Columbia’s Manhattanville campus,” said Lisa Carnoy and Jonathan Lavine, co-chairs of the university’s Board of Trustees, in a statement.

Many residents and business owners opposed Columbia’s expansion into a formerly industrial area in upper Manhattan. The trustees said in their statement that Columbia “has worked with our surrounding communities to support priorities like housing and education.”

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Bollinger and other administrators once opposed the formation of a union for graduate student workers, but they agreed to recognize the United Auto Workers-affiliated union in 2018.

Bollinger also faced pushback in 2007 for inviting Iran’s then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give a speech. Bollinger used the occasion to criticize Iran’s human rights record and foreign policy.

A graduate of Columbia’s law school and a noted First Amendment scholar, Bollinger served as president of the University of Michigan before taking the top job at Columbia.

The Columbia trustees said they would assemble a search committee for a new university president in the coming months.