David Rubenstein elected chair of University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees has elected David M. Rubenstein, JD’73, an international leader in the areas of business, public affairs, and support for higher education and the arts, as its next chair. Rubenstein will begin his three-year term after the board’s annual meeting on May 26.

Rubenstein succeeds Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, who has served as board chair since 2015.

“As an alumnus and longtime trustee, David understands what makes the University of Chicago one of the world’s great institutions,” Neubauer said. “I have enjoyed working with him on the board and throughout the presidential search process. His election as chair will provide the University with a strong and dedicated leader in the years ahead.”

Rubenstein has expanded his leadership role on the board since becoming a trustee in 2007, most recently joining the Executive Committee and serving on the Presidential Search Committee.  

“David is deeply committed to the University and its distinctive culture, and he brings extraordinary insight into issues at the core of higher education,” said University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos. “We are grateful for his continued leadership in his new role as chair, which will further enhance the University’s ambitious work in research, education and impact.”

Rubenstein is a longtime supporter of the University and an advocate for educational access and intellectual convening. Since 2010, he has committed $61 million to the Rubenstein Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships for about 10 percent of students at the Law School. In 2014, Rubenstein made a significant new gift to the University, which named its new building for convening and collaboration the David M. Rubenstein Forum, in recognition of his ongoing generosity to the University.

Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm. He is a 1973 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

“I am honored to succeed a number of distinguished individuals who have served in this role, and I will do my best to live up to their example,” Rubenstein said. “The University has always played a unique and important role in American higher education, and I look forward to doing what I can to strengthen that role, working closely with the dedicated members of the Board of Trustees as well as the University’s remarkable academic and administrative leaders.”

Early in his career, Rubenstein practiced law before serving in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. In 1987, he co-founded The Carlyle Group, which has $301 billion in assets under management.

Rubenstein was an original signer of the Giving Pledge, an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will. A best-selling author, he is a passionate advocate for public affairs and public discourse, serving as a host for both TV shows and podcasts.

“In addition to the impact he has made as a philanthropist, David has illuminated the world around us through his talents as an interviewer and interlocutor,” Alivisatos said. “By helping us better understand the leading figures of our day, he has revealed more about the inner workings of societies. These conversations epitomize the spirit of free expression and dialogue that lie at the heart of the UChicago tradition of learning and discovery.”

Among his numerous current roles, Rubenstein serves as board chair of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Gallery of Art, and the Economic Club of Washington; a fellow of the Harvard Corporation; a trustee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Constitution Center, the Brookings Institution, and the World Economic Forum; and a director of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A native of Baltimore, Rubenstein is a 1970 graduate of Duke University, where he graduated magna cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa.