Committee formed to seek replacement for Sunshine

Northwestern is searching for the successor to Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance. Sunshine (Weinberg ‘71) announced in January he will retire this summer after 17 years at NU.

Daily file photo by Susan Du

Northwestern is searching for the successor to Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance. Sunshine (Weinberg ‘71) announced in January he will retire this summer after 17 years at NU.

Rebecca Savransky, Assistant Campus Editor

Administrators have organized a search committee to find a replacement for Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance, who will be stepping down at the end of the academic year.

Sunshine (Weinberg ’71) has worked at the University for 17 years and oversaw a significant number of projects, including large-scale campus expansion and endowment growth. He announced last month he was stepping down to devote more time to consulting, teaching, advising companies and serving on boards of directors.

The replacement committee, headed by University Provost Dan Linzer and Chief Investment Officer William McLean, is made up of members of the NU community from different areas of campus.

“The idea was that the person that would replace Sunshine needs to be involved in a range of different university activities,” said Weinberg Prof. Teri Odom, a member of the committee. “Representatives and constituents were chosen such that some of the decisions he might make that would impact them most directly are part of the decision in selecting his successor.”

The committee was formed shortly after Sunshine announced his intention to step down, Linzer said. Since its formation, involved members have met once to discuss the way in which the search will be conducted, he said. Committee members said they are hoping to find a replacement who would be ready to begin the position when Sunshine steps down. 

The committee is currently in its planning stages but will be devoting more time to the initiative within the coming weeks. Linzer said due to their recent start, the proposed timeline for the project is not yet confirmed.

“Once you get started, then you tend to get a much better sense of the pool of candidates,” he said.

The committee will be working with a search firm to create a description of the position and reach out to potential candidates, Linzer said.

He said he does not expect finding a capable successor will pose significant challenges for the University, because of its quality of students, financial strength and location.

“Northwestern is an amazingly well-positioned university to attract the top candidates for this,” Linzer said.

Steven Green, senior associate director of athletics and a member of the committee, said he was honored to have been chosen to be a part of the group and is looking forward to the opportunity to voice his opinions on Sunshine’s successor. He admitted that Sunshine will be difficult to replace due to his communication skills and long history within the NU community.

“It’s hard for someone not familiar with the University to understand how Northwestern University really works,” Green said. “One of the great benefits of Gene has been his experience understanding the University and understanding the community.”

Odom agreed that finding Sunshine’s successor will be difficult because he “tended to do everything well.” She said his familiarity with the University and his ability to work easily with multiple departments made him unique and hard to replace.

Linzer said although he is looking forward to the recruiting process, he will miss Sunshine and hopes the new candidate will appreciate the University’s academic mission and value the student experience.

“The university has been incredibly well served by Gene Sunshine,” Linzer said. “In addition to the deep understanding he has of Northwestern, he has a real passion and skill set that is spectacular from all of the different areas of the University that he has direct responsibility for. Beyond that, he’s just a wonderful colleague.”

Email: [email protected]