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Columbia, NYU presidents plan to step down

NEW YORK — Columbia University's president announced Saturday that he will resign next year, and New York University said its leader was stepping down as well, leaving vacancies at the helm of two of the most prestigious U.S. institutions of higher learning.

Columbia President George Rupp said at a meeting of the university's trustees that he would leave in summer 2002.

"I have decided that next year will be my last as Columbia's president," Rupp said in a statement. "I am announcing my intention to resign now in order to allow time for an orderly succession."

NYU President L. Jay Oliva told the school's board of trustees that he plans to step aside next year, according to trustees board chairman Martin Lipton. Oliva did not make a public statement, and he could not be reached for comment.

Rupp, who took over as Columbia's president in July 1993, said he has no plans for his future, but that he may return to teaching and writing. He earns about $500,000 annually as head of Columbia.

The school has started a search committee, according to Columbia's Web site.

Lipton said Oliva will continue to teach classes at NYU. "He's been such an integral part of the life of the university that it would be a huge loss if he wasn't around," Lipton said.

Oliva served as NYU provost for 10 years before becoming the president in 1991.