Jonathan D. Schiller Poised to Lead University Trustees

Jonathan D. Schiller
Jonathan D. Schiller ’69CC, ’73LAW accepts the Alexander Hamilton Medal at an awards dinner in 2012. Photo: Eileen Barroso

Jonathan D. Schiller ’69CC, ’73LAW, a prominent New York City attorney who has served as a University Trustee since 2009, has been elected co-chair of the board alongside William V. Campbell ’62CC, ’64TC, the board’s chair for the past nine years. Campbell’s twelve-year term as a Trustee ends in 2015, but he will be stepping down as chair this summer; Schiller will succeed him.

“This is going to be a smooth transition,” says Campbell, a former Lions football coach who is the chairman and former CEO of the California-based software company Intuit. “Jonathan is enormously respected and capable in every way.”

Schiller is a managing partner and cofounder of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, a firm that specializes in complex litigation and arbitration. Since its establishment in 1997, the firm has handled many high-profile, high-stakes cases. Schiller represented Napster in the music-sharing site’s dispute with the Recording Industry Association of America; he was co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in a class-action suit, In re Vitamins, that exposed illegal price fixing by top vitamin producers around the world; and he is currently leading Barclay’s defense in twenty class actions and numerous individual lawsuits in New York related to the bank’s alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.

As exciting as his day job is, Schiller says that his work as a University Trustee is a distinct pleasure.

“I truly enjoy everything that being a Trustee entails: helping to shape University policy, providing a sounding board for President Lee Bollinger and his management team, contributing to the ideas and programs that faculty, deans, and students are developing,” says Schiller, who has led the board’s committee on education policy for the past two years. “It’s a very interactive and collaborative process — and one that is intellectually stimulating. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to our meetings.”

A high-school basketball star, Schiller attended Columbia in part because he thought he’d get playing time here. He did, and to glorious result: he was a member of the 1967 –68 basketball team that won the Ivy League Championship and was inducted into the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006. It was Schiler’s academic experience, though, that inspired a lifelong devotion to Columbia University.

“I loved this place from the first time I strolled down College Walk,” says Schiller, whose three sons all attended Columbia. “I loved the architecture, the great faculty, and the wonderfully attentive students. I still remember my first Lit Hum class. I loved the energy of the place. It’s still like that each time I come back.”

Schiller, who also serves on the Columbia Law School dean’s council, has funded a scholarship at the College and fellowships in international human-rights law at Columbia Law School. He has received the College’s two highest honors for alumni: the John Jay and Alexander Hamilton awards.

“Jonathan Schiller is deeply dedicated to Columbia and brings both great personal insight about the institution and admired professional experience to this important new role,” says President Lee Bollinger. “He is highly familiar with the initiatives that are essential to Columbia’s future, both here in New York and around the globe, and we look forward to benefiting from his leadership, together with that of Bill Campbell, who, in his distinguished service on this board over the past decade, has been an extraordinary resource to this University and a close friend to me personally.”