Vanderbilt University Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Nicholas S. Zeppos has been named interim chancellor effective August 1, Board of Trust Chairman Martha R. Ingram has announced.
Zeppos will take over from current Chancellor Gordon Gee, who announced his plans to leave Vanderbilt to become president of Ohio State University on July 11.
“Nick Zeppos is a gifted scholar, teacher, executive and leader who has been one of the principal architects of Vanderbilt’s success in recent years,” said Ingram. “The Board of Trust has complete confidence in his ability to maintain Vanderbilt’s momentum during this transition. He is committed to every part of Vanderbilt’s mission, to the success of our students, faculty and staff, and to our values of equality, compassion and excellence.”
Ingram added that the Board of Trust has begun planning for a thorough and comprehensive national search for the next chancellor, who will be only the eighth chief executive in Vanderbilt’s 134-year history.
“I am honored and humbled to serve as the interim chancellor of this great university,” said Zeppos. “Vanderbilt is my home and my passion, and I look forward to engaging with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to continue the vital work that takes place on this campus every day.”
Zeppos, an expert in administrative law who is a member of the law faculty, currently serves as Vanderbilt’s chief academic, development, alumni relations and student affairs officer, with broad responsibility for resource management. He also chairs the university’s Integrated Planning Budgeting Council.
Zeppos joined the Vanderbilt Law School faculty in 1987 after practicing law in Washington, D.C. He later served as associate dean of the law school and subsequently associate provost for academic affairs. He was named vice chancellor for institutional planning and advancement in 2000 and provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2001.
Zeppos has spearheaded a number of important initiatives, including the planning process for The Commons and College Halls of Vanderbilt, the strategic academic planning group, innovative efforts in undergraduate admissions and financial aid, and the development of new programs in Jewish Studies. He has also led the university’s Shape the Future fund-raising campaign, which exceeded its $1.25 billion goal two years ahead of schedule, with a new target of $1.75 billion by 2010.
A nationally recognized scholar in legislation and government regulation, Zeppos has written widely on legislation, administrative law, and professional responsibility. He has won five teaching awards at the Law School. He served as chair of the Scholars Committee on the Federal Judiciary and as chair of the Rules Advisory Committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Zeppos has also served as consultant to government agencies, major corporations and trade associations on complex litigation, policy design and implementation, administrative law, constitutional law, civil procedure, federal jurisdiction and regulation of financial institutions.
Zeppos received both his law degree and bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin. He and his wife Lydia Howarth, a writer and editor, have two sons, Ben, a junior at Princeton University, and Nicholas, a senior at the University School of Nashville.