Transitions

Robert Kasdin
Robert Kasdin, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of the University of Michigan, has been named senior executive vice president at Columbia.

Kasdin will apply his management and financial expertise to a variety of departments and programs at Columbia, including areas in the health sciences and computing.

“Columbia is very fortunate indeed to benefit from the extraordinary talents of Robert Kasdin,” says President Lee Bollinger. “Having worked closely with Robert for the last five years, I can say without qualification that he is one of the finest, most creative academic administrators in the nation.”

At Michigan, Kasdin—a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School—was responsible for the overall financial status of the university. He was directly accountable for its $8 billion balance sheet as well as for the university’s audited financial statements, operations supporting the $3.8 billion budget, investment of its $5 billion portfolio, and capital projects, among other responsibilities.

Prior to arriving at Michigan, he served as treasurer and chief investment officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was responsible for the museum’s $1.1 billion investment portfolio, and as vice president and general counsel for the Princeton University Investment Company, an organization that oversees Princeton’s endowment.

Susan Feagin
Susan K. Feagin, a 1974 graduate of the School of General Studies, has returned to Columbia to head the University’s fundraising and alumni relations efforts.

Feagin began her development career while a student at General Studies. She joined Harvard’s development office in 1975, building a development campaign for Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence and ultimately serving as assistant director for the Harvard Campaign to raise $350 million.

In 1982 she returned to Columbia to become campaign director for Arts and Sciences and, in 1986, executive director of the Campaign for Arts and Sciences and Professional Schools, during a five-year drive that raised $500 million for the University. In 1987, Feagin moved back to Harvard, where she was named associate dean for development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1992. Four years later she was appointed director of Harvard’s multi-billion-dollar campaign, one of the most successful in the history of higher education.

In 1998, Bollinger recruited Feagin as the University of Michigan’s vice president for development, and in the next year fundraising rose nearly 30 percent. When Bollinger was named president of Columbia earlier this year, one of his first acts was to recruit Feagin as the University’s vice president for development and alumni relations. Says Bollinger, “Susan Feagin is the best at what she does. She also is a person of great dedication to Columbia and an extraordinarily good person to work with. I am delighted that she is returning.”

Eight years on the Dean’s Advisory Council at General Studies have given her the perspective of a volunteer devoted to her school. “I am thrilled to be back at Columbia,” says Feagin. “If you had asked me two years ago to describe my dream job, it might well have had ‘Columbia’ and ‘Bollinger’ among the criteria. I am one of those alums who feels a real sense of debt and gratitude to Columbia for my great undergraduate experience. This is a special opportunity for some repayment.”

N.P. “Narv” Narvekar has been named Columbia’s new vice president for investments.

N.P. "Narv" Narvekar
Formerly managing director of the Office of Investments at the University of Pennsylvania, Narvekar will manage Columbia’s $4.3 billion endowment, which has earned an average annual investment return over the past decade of 13.4 percent. Narvekar’s appointment followed a nationwide search headed by University Trustee and Investment Steering Committee Chair John Chalsty.

“I could not be more pleased that someone of Narv Narvekar’s intelligence, experience, and judgment will be joining the University as steward of the University’s endowment,” Chalsty says.

Says Narvekar: “I am very excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead as well as the chance to work with the Columbia investment team, the Investment Steering Committee, and the Columbia community.”

Narvekar brings to the post extensive investment experience both on Wall Street and in an endowment management setting. As managing director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Investments since 1998, Narvekar served as its deputy director, playing a central role in shaping the asset allocation of Penn’s $3.2 billion endowment, particularly in the areas of private equity and other alternative investments.

Prior to that, he spent fourteen years with J.P. Morgan and Company, including six years as managing director in the Equity Derivatives Group. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate in economics from Haverford College, Narvekar earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Narvekar succeeds Bruce M. Dresner, who served Columbia as vice president for investments since 1990. (CIESIN), and Laboratory of Populations, which is a joint venture of Columbia and Rockefeller University.

Photos: Kasdin: Bob Kalmbach/U-M Photo Services. Feagin: René Perez. Narvekar: Patrick Queen.