You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 : 5:58 a.m.

Pfizer site acquisition convinced Ora Pescovitz to take University of Michigan job

By Nathan Bomey

The central focus for the University of Michigan’s 2-million-square-foot North Campus Research Complex is science and economic development.

But a side effect is already emerging: The ex-Pfizer site promises to be a talent recruitment asset.

The site is already responsible for attracting at least one person: new U-M Health System CEO Ora Hirsch Pescovitz.

Pescovitz said last week that the university’s $108 million acquisition of the 174-acre Pfizer campus convinced her to accept the university's job offer.

Ora Pescovitz 2.jpg

University of Michigan Health System CEO Ora Pescovitz

Pescovitz said the Pfizer acquisition, underscored by the university’s growing $1 billion research budget and business connections, convinced her to leave her position as executive associate dean for research affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine. When she was considering the job in January, she took a tour of the Pfizer facility.

“It just tipped the balance for me,” she said at the Tech Transfer Office’s Celebrate Invention event. “I realized that there was nothing else I could do but be part of it. I decided that if I was to be offered the position, I had to take it.”

The university expects to use the ex-Pfizer facilities in northern Ann Arbor to create more multidisciplinary research initiatives and enhance the university’s business relationships.

“It’s forcing is all to think about new ways to partner, new ways to research, new ways to be inventive,” said Stephen Forrest, U-M’s vice president for research.

Pescovitz, who became executive vice president for medical affairs in May, oversees the U-M Health System, which has a $1 billion budget and 12,000 employees. She also oversees the School of Nursing and the Medical School, which funded most of the Pfizer site purchase and is overseeing the site’s transition.

“This opportunity will enable us at the University of Michigan to do something that no other academic institution in the rest of the nation can possibly do,” Pescovitz said. “It will position us as a state, as a region and certainly as a complex to do unsurpassed things. This is both from the perspective of research and also in the public-private arena to accomplish goals that we never thought possible before.”

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter.