What Researchers and Artists Actually Do

This speech was given by Don Michael Randel, the President of The Mellon Foundation for the May 4 – 6, 2011 conference at the University of Michigan on “The Role of Art-Making and the Arts in the Research University”. Incredible speech. 33 minutes long. Get a cup of joe and work while you listen. Totally worth the investment of time.


Don Michael Randel

About Don Randel

  • Member, UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory
  • President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Don Randel grew up in Panama, where his father operated a small business, and then attended Princeton University, where he received bachelor’s, M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees in music.

He joined the Cornell University faculty in the department of music in 1968. Thereafter he served as department chair, vice-provost, and associate dean and then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1995, he was named provost of Cornell University. He became President-Elect of The University of Chicago on December 13, 1999, serving from 2000 to 2006.

His scholarly specialty is the music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Spain and France, but his interests incorporate music as diverse as Latin pop and jazz.

Under his editorship, the New Harvard Dictionary of Music was published in 1986, and he completed the companion Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music in 1996. Randel also edited the Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians in 1999, and completed editing The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed., in 2003.

Randel’s wife, Carol, is an alumna of the University of Michigan, where she majored in mathematics. They have four daughters: Amy Elizabeth Keating (Harvard, ’92), Julia Randel (Yale, ’93), Emily Catherine Pershing (Brown, ’94) and Sally Randel Eggert (Cornell, ’97).

He became President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in July 2006.

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