Sig Gissler, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal and for eight years an associate professor in Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, has been appointed administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
He will succeed Seymour Topping, former managing editor of the New York Times, who has held the post since 1993.
The appointment, which will be effective July 1, was announced by the Pulitzer Prize board and by George Rupp, president of Columbia University, where the prizes have been administered since their inception.
Gissler was a member of the Milwaukee Journal's staff from 1967 to 1993, serving as editor from 1985. During his newspaper career, he has worked as a reporter, editorial writer, editor and management executive. At Columbia, he has taught reporting and writing and founded the Columbia Workshops on Journalism, Race and Ethnicity.
He also conducts a 15-week seminar on coverage of race and ethnic issues in urban America.
Topping was managing editor of the Times from 1977 to 1986 and director of editorial development of the New York Times Regional Newspapers from 1987 to 1993, when he took the Pulitzer post. He has been SanPaolo Professor of International Journalism at Columbia since 1994. His Times career included a variety of international assignments and senior editorial management posts that led to the managing editorship.
John Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times and current chairman of the Pulitzer board, said, "After a distinguished career in journalism, Seymour Topping has given the Pulitzer Prizes nine years of strong and enlightened stewardship. No one has been more ardently devoted to the integrity of the institution. We are in his debt."
Speaking of Gissler's appointment, Louis D. Boccardi, president and CEO of The Associated Press and a Pulitzer board member who led the search committee for Topping's successor, said, "The board and the university are pleased to welcome a person of Gissler's stature and standards to continue the important mission of the Pulitzers."
President Rupp of Columbia said, "Sig Gissler will be a great administrator for the Pulitzer prizes. He knows both journalism and the academy from the inside. That combination qualifies him to lead the Pulitzer program with the same distinction that Seymour Topping has brought to it."
In addition to Rupp and Boccardi, the other members of the search committee were Carroll and Sandra Rowe, editor of the Oregonian newspaper in Portland.
Edward Kliment, who has been deputy administrator since 1994, will continue in that post.
The administrator's office provides support for the selection of juries, prize deliberations and the meetings of the board, which chooses the winners each April.
The prizes, established under the 1904 will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, are regarded as among the most prestigious in journalism, letters, drama and music.