Recent conversations in the Academic Health Center tend to focus on the pending retirement of Senior Vice President Frank Cerra, MD. Dr. Cerra plans to step down after nearly fifteen years as the administrative head of the health sciences in December.
Of course, Dr. Cerra is not the first vice president for health sciences to step down. In total there have been five fully appointed vice presidents/provosts; Dr. Lyle French (1970-1981), Dr. Neal Vanselow (1982-1989), Dr. Robert Anderson (1992-1993), Dr. William Brody (1994-1996), and Dr. Cerra (1996-2010), and one long-term acting vice president, Cherie Perlmutter (1989-1992).
Of all the vice presidents, Drs. French and Cerra have the most in common. Both served as departmental chiefs at the University of Minnesota before their appointment. Both served in their position for more than ten years. Both oversaw major physical expansions of the health sciences complex. And finally, both indicated an interest to return to their departments to pick up the mantle of research & teaching.
Vice presidents Vanselow and Brody left the University to serve as Chancellor of Tulane Medical Center and President of Johns Hopkins, respectively. Dr. Anderson retired from academic life.
Pictured: 1983 Oil portrait of Dr. Lyle A. French.
Read the 1981 press release announcing Dr. French’s plan to step down and the accompanying summary of his time in office.