With effect from 1 October, Professor Anton Pijpers (1958) will be the new president of the Executive Board of Utrecht University. He has already been vice-president since 2014. Pijpers will succeed Marjan Oudeman, who left the position of president in June. He was appointed by the Supervisory Board for a period of four years with the option of reappointment.
‘Anton Pijpers is a highly experienced manager who knows the university inside out’, says the chairman of the Supervisory Board, Professor Emmo Meijer. ‘Anton has a strong connection with the university. Utrecht University wishes to strengthen its international position in the areas of education and research, spread its wings and at the same time play a central role in society, with its feet firmly planted in Utrecht soil. Anton Pijpers is very good at combining these two worlds.’
Meijer points out that, in his role as vice-president, Pijpers has taken significant steps towards improving the financial sustainability of the university premises. He also played a major role in the establishment of the Netherlands Centre for One Health. At the same time, he built up a strong regional network. Meijer: ‘As a manager, Anton Pijpers has shown that he is good at building bridges and collaborating with students and staff on the challenges facing the university today.’
Anton Pijpers says that he is looking forward to continuing the collaboration. ‘Every day, I am impressed by the talent of the people who work and study here’, says Pijpers. ‘As the Executive Board, together with the deans, we must ensure that they can flourish and contribute to resolving the social issues facing our world. I consider it a great privilege to be able to do this in the role of president.’
Pijpers studied Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht and then spent some time working as a vet. He earned his PhD at Utrecht University and was appointed a professor in 1993. Between 2000 and 2009, he left the university and worked as the managing director of GD Animal Health. In 2009, he returned to the university as dean of the Veterinary Medicine faculty. In 2014, he was appointed vice-president of the Executive Board. He also fulfils a number of other (unpaid) roles. For example, he is a member of the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health steering group and the Leadership Committee of the American Association of Veterinary Medicine Colleges.
Meijer feels that having Pijpers as president will guarantee administrative continuity, also in light of the changes which will soon take place in the composition of the board. At the moment, the Executive Board consists of Pijpers and rector magnificus Professor Bert van der Zwaan. The latter has stated that he wishes to retire from his position as rector during the Dies, the annual commemoration of Utrecht University's anniversary, in March 2018.
‘Bert van der Zwaan has now reached retirement age and wishes to prioritise other areas of his life from next year onwards’, says Meijer. ‘He put Utrecht's education and research firmly on the map and has developed an inspiring vision of the future of higher education which will serve to guide our way.’ The Supervisory Board will shortly start a procedure for recruiting a new vice-president and rector magnificus.