David Pollick

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David Pollick

G. David Pollick (born 1948) was the 12th president of Birmingham-Southern College. He succeeded Neal Berte in July 2004 and resigned in August 2010 following a massive accounting controversy.

During the Vietnam War, Pollick, then a freshman, dropped out of the University of San Diego and joined the United States Navy, serving as a petty officer on a submarine crew in the Pacific from 1966 to 1968. After the war he returned to school and settled on philosophy. He earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy from San Diego; and went on to receive a master’s in philosophy from the University of Ottawa, and a Ph.L. in philosophy from St Paul’s University in Ottawa.

When he returned to the classroom as a professor, Pollick struggled with his perceived deficit of "life experience" as a foundation for his pedagogy. He signed up with a Catholic charity operating in the desert of Southern California, eventually directing a heroin rehabilitation center. He established a one-room school for emotionally disturbed children and later taught neurologically handicapped kids at a private institute.

After that he returned to the University of Ottowa for his Ph.D. and resumed his academic career. He has held administrative and academic positions at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, both in Minnesota. He then became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of philosophy at Seattle University in Washington, and acting president and provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

Until 1996, Pollick was co-chief executive officer and president of the Art Institute of Chicago and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He left that position after two years, saying that "The focus of a professional art school’s mission is simply both professionally and personally too restrictive for me." He accepted an offer to become president of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, a private liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

In 2004 he came to Birmingham to take the helm at Birmingham-Southern. His plans for the college included increasing enrollment to 1,800 students and making BSC a center for discourse on human dignity through the establishment of a "Center for Global Human Dignity". In early 2010 Pollick announced the discovery of a years-long problem with budgeting for student financial aid, which inflated revenue projections and required massive budget cuts, including the elimination of five majors and 29 faculty positions. He resigned that August. The Chronicle of Higher Education later reported that Pollick's 2010 salary of $2.31 million, reportedly inflated by the cost of his buyout, was the third highest for any university president in the United States.

In 2011 Pollick was hired as a senior advisor to the Washington D.C.-based Council of Independent Colleges. In 2013 he took a job consulting for the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. In March 2014 he was appointed to serve as provost and chief operating officer for that institution. In 2015 the Nordic Council of Ministers, a major funder of EHU, commissioned a confidential audit of financial dealings and governance which appeared to show undisclosed payments made to Pollick through an intermediary. Pollick resigned his position shortly after the report was leaked to the press.

Pollick married the acclaimed violinist Karen Bentley in 2003. He has two children by a previous marriage. He listed his home in Evergreen, Colorado for sale in 2017 for $1.87 million.

Preceded by:
Neal Berte
President of Birmingham-Southern College
Succeeded by:
Mark Schantz (interim)


  • Dr. G. David Pollick. Birmingham-Southern College
  • Singleton, William C. III (March 23, 2004) "Birmingham-Southern welcomes philosophical new president." Birmingham Post-Herald
  • Epstein, Jennifer (July 15, 2010) "An error with consequences." Inside Higher Ed
  • Garrison, Greg (August 11, 2010) "Birmingham-Southern College trustees name Provost Mark Schantz as interim president." The Birmingham News
  • West, Ty (January 14, 2014) "Former Birmingham-Southern president named provost at European school." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Kharytonau, Serge (June 16, 2016) "EHU Fights Allegations Of Financial Misconduct, Needs New Leadership." Belarus Digest
  • Whitmire, Kyle (January 25, 2023) "After 20 years of decline, BSC struggles to find a way forward." AL.com