(JNS.org) The board
of directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life on Sunday
unanimously approved former Ohio congressman Eric Fingerhut, who also oversaw
the state’s coordinating board for higher education, as its next president and
“I am honored to be joining such an esteemed and important organization,” Fingerhut said in a statement. “Everything in my life has led to this moment—my public service, my work on campuses and research centers across Ohio, and my lifelong devotion to Israel and the Jewish people. And so I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Hillel was created in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and was adopted by B’nai B’rith International in 1924 until the 1990s. The organization has grown to more than 550 locations at colleges, universities, and communities across North America.
Fingerhut, 54, represented Ohio’s 19th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1993 to January 1995, and was chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from March 2007 to February 2011, a role in which he provided higher education policy advice to the state’s governor and legislature. He will succeed Wayne Firestone as Hillel’s CEO later this summer. Sidney Pertnoy, chairman of Hillel’s Board of Directors called Fingerhut “an ideal fit for Hillel at this important time in our history.”
“He has a passion for Hillel’s mission and a proven innovative record of successes in both the public and private arena,” Pertnoy said in a statement.
“We believe that Eric’s public service and history of leadership in higher education as well as his entrepreneurial spirit and creative energy, uniquely qualify him for the role,” added Randall Kaplan, chairman of Hillel's international board of governors.