Vienna (June 27, 2022) -- The Central European University (CEU) Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the unanimous election of Geoffrey W. Smith as its Chair. Outgoing Chair Leon Botstein has been named Trustee Emeritus. Both appointments are effective as of July 1, 2022.
Geoffrey W. Smith is the Founder and Managing Partner of Digitalis Ventures. He is also a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. Geoff is also the Founder and a Director of the Digitalis Commons, a public-interest organization striving to solve complex health problems through technology. Previously, Geoff was the founding Director of the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology and a Professor in the Department of Population Health Science and Policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He serves as a Trustee of The Jackson Laboratory, and also of Bard College where he is the past-Chair of the Bard Early College Board of Governors. Geoff received a B.A. with honors from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
"Having known Geoff for years through his work with Bard, I am proud and delighted to have him as my successor as the Chair of CEU's Board," said longtime CEU Chair, Leon Botstein, welcoming Smith to the post. Botstein is President of Bard College and Chancellor of the Open Society University Network (OSUN). CEU President and Rector Shalini Randeria added, "Geoff joins as the Chair of the CEU Board at a crucial moment for the University. His wide experience and sound judgement will be invaluable to us in achieving our aim to strengthen and enhance our research and teaching in the coming years."
The Board expressed its deep gratitude to longtime CEU Board Chair, Leon Botstein, for his extraordinary leadership and over thirty years of service to Central European University. The Rector Shalini Randeria added: "I would like to thank Leon Botstein personally for his years of exceptional commitment and dedication to the University. Leon has been tireless in support of CEU and its core values, and we are proud to have him as an Emeritus Trustee. CEU and its Board owe him a huge debt of gratitude."
On accepting his election as incoming Chair, Geoffrey Smith paid tribute to his predecessor: "First and foremost, I would like to recognize the work of the current Chairman, Leon Botstein, who has served CEU from its beginning and acted as its Chairman for 15 years. During this time, he showed infinite wisdom, effort, and support towards this community." Among his numerous accomplishments as Chair, Botstein was instrumental in securing Vienna as a new home for CEU and ensuring the university's move to Austria was a success. Alexander Soros, speaking on behalf of CEU Founder George Soros, thanked Botstein for his service as Board Chair and all the time he has devoted to the development of CEU. "There is no question: CEU would not be what it is today without Leon," Alex Soros said.
Leon Botstein thanked current and past Trustees, CEU President and Rector Shalini Randeria, and the CEU community members he has worked with over the years as CEU's Chairman. He congratulated President-Rector Randeria for the remarkable achievements of her first year in office, including the Pro-Rectors she has chosen to give CEU a strong and expanded academic leadership. Botstein added, "This university should be proud of its accomplishments and look forward to its future."
"CEU has a very bright future," said Smith. "I am excited about the journey forward to build our new home in Vienna, and steadily grow the global network of supporters investing with us to ensure that the world's most promising students have the education they need to make a difference. "
The election took place at the CEU Board's June 26, 2022 meeting. Geoffrey Smith was elected for a three-year term.