2017 in Review

A month-by-month look at some major NYU milestones from the past year.
photo: Washington Square Park in winter

It goes without saying that 2017 was an eventful year—both in the wider world and within our University. NYU took significant steps in its affordability and diversity initiatives, opened new centers at the frontier of creative tech, and celebrated the significant achievements of our students, faculty, and alumni—from MacArthur grants to Academy Awards. In a tumultuous political climate, the University, under President Andrew Hamilton's leadership, reaffirmed some of our core values—our global outlook and international character, our belief in higher education as a vehicle for social mobility, and our dedication to the sciences. Faculty research breakthroughs made headlines worldwide and student athletes made NYU history with national championship titles. And with Pantone recently naming violet the official color of 2018, we're feeling pretty optimistic about the new year. But first, let's look back at some 2017 milestones. 

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January
  • New York Times study ranked NYU fourth among top colleges enrolling the highest percentage of low- and middle-income students and eighth on the economic mobility index, which measures access and outcomes for students, including the likelihood of moving up two or more income levels.
  • President Andrew Hamilton announced a plan for a major, decade-long investment to make our Brooklyn campus a hub for creative tech, with a new facility for media, technology, and the arts built in the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay St.
  • Following an executive order limiting travel to the United States from several majority-Muslim nations, President Hamilton reiterated the University's belief in the free movement of ideas and our commitment to non-citizen students.
  • The School of Law launched the NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative to provide free, confidential advice and legal representation to students and staff at risk of deportation.
  • A Steinhardt restaging of the 2016 presidential debates with an actress playing Donald Trump and an actor playing Hillary Clinton went viral and became an off-Broadway play.
  • Five NYU alumni won big at the Sundance Film Festival.
February
March
  • NYU submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of lawsuits challenging a revised version of the executive order on immigration, and joined other universities in signing a letter to President Trump in support of Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. 
  • Tisch held an interdisciplinary Climate Action Conference to bring together artists, academic researchers, and activists to discuss the future of the planet. 
  • Freshman Honore Collins became NYU's first-ever national swimming champion when she won the 200-yard individual medley at the NCAA Division III Championships. 
  • Senior Nathan Pike became NYU's first-ever national wrestling champion when he won the 133 pound title at the NCAA Division III Championships.
April
  • The University notified 18,520 students of their acceptance to the class of 2021, marking the lowest acceptance rate—27 percent—and the largest percentage of African American and Latino students in at least 16 years. Some 17 percent of those admitted were the first in their families to attend college.
  • President Hamilton joined faculty, students, and staff in a Washington, DC, teach-in and March for Science on April 22 to protest proposed cuts to federal research funding. He also published an op-ed that called the cuts a "blueprint for disaster." 
  • NYU alumnus Tyehimba Jess (GSAS '04) was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Olio. 
  • NYU's Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—formed to develop specific actions to ensure that all members of our community feel like they belong at NYU—issued its final report.
  • New Yorkers for Parks honored NYU Grounds Manager George Reis with the Manhattan Borough Daffodil Award for his dedication to public horticulture and healthy urban ecosystems. 
May
  • Pharrell Williams spoke at NYU's 185th Commencement at Yankee Stadium. Other honorary degree recipients included Thomas R. Frieden, Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Jean-Marie Lehn, Barbara A. Mikulski, and Melissa V. Harris-Perry.
  • NYU Shanghai held its very first commencement ceremony for its inaugural graduating class.
June
  • Tandon was selected to develop and operate a hub for virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a workforce development center at CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx. The lab will directly create over 500 jobs over the next ten years.
  • President Hamilton joined mayors, governors and business leaders from the United States and around the globe to declare that NYU would continue its institutional efforts to meet the Paris Agreement.
  • Seven NYU alumni won Tony Awards—for producing, lighting design, and scenic design.
  • President Hamilton wrote to HS Secretary Thomas Price and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to oppose a proposed 10 percent cap for facilities and administrative costs on National Institutes of Health grants.
July
August
  • As a part of our ongoing affordability efforts, NYU contracted with Follett Higher Education to operate the NYU Bookstore. NYU’s Affordability Steering Committee found that textbook costs are a major expense and concern for students and families, and Follett is expected to save the average student 15-70% on textbooks—or a total of $2 million in savings overall.
  • Steinhardt's Urban Farm Lab reopened on Houston Street.
September
  • NYU jumped five positions to crack the top 30 on the U.S. News and World Report best national universities list. 
  • NYU moved up six positions—to no. 27—on the Times Higher Education World Universities rankings.
  • NYU welcomed Lisa M. Coleman, former chief diversity officer and special assistant to the president at Harvard, as our our first-ever and chief diversity officer and senior vice president for global inclusion, diversity, and strategic innovation.
  • President Hamilton wrote to President Trump to urge him to preserve DACA, and, once the program was rescinded, vowed to press members of Congress to develop a solution for students covered by it. 
  • NYU welcomed Madame Liu Yandong, vice premier of the People’s Republic of China, to celebrate U.S.-China collaboration and innovation. She gave an address and received the NYU Presidential Medal from President Hamilton.
  • NYU alumni won a total of 18 Emmy Awards in major categories including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor, and Outstanding Directing.
  • NYU announced Professional Edge, a plan to give undergraduates industry-specific skills that support their future professional goals by allowing juniors and seniors to take non-credit courses cost-free in our School of Professional Studies.
October
November
  • At the recommendation of NYU's Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the University invited students, faculty, staff, and administrators to participate in the first-ever University-wide campus climate study to evaluate the living, learning, and working environment at NYU. 
  • NYU launched the AI Now Institute, the first research center of its kind dedicated to the study of the social implications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithmic accountability. 
  • The University announced that for the Spring 2018 semester, NYU would admit and cover tuition, housing, and a meal plan for a special cohort of undergraduate students currently enrolled in Puerto Rican colleges whose education was disrupted by Hurricane Maria and other storms.
  • Two NYU Abu Dhabi seniors—Maitha Salem AlMemari (UAE) and Chaimaa Fadil (Morocco)—were selected as 2018 UAE Rhodes Scholars.
  • Students and faculty briefed members of the European Parliament in NYU's third conference on Race, Racism, and Xenophobia in a Global Context—held in Brussels at the invitation of Italian Member of the European Parliament Cécile Kyenge.
  • NYU Tandon launched the Veterans Future Lab, New York's first business incubator for military veterans.
  • NYU launched the NYU Veterans and Military Resource Center, an additional space on campus offering services, assistance, and connections for NYU veterans.
  • According to the annual “Open Doors” study released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), NYU ranked no. 1 in both the number of international students studying at NYU and the number of NYU students studying abroad—a distinction we've held since 2014.
December
  • NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress became the first resident of 370 Jay Street, NYU's newly renovated  530,000 square-foot Brooklyn hub for art, tech, and media.
  • President Hamilton wrote to members of Congress about provisions of the proposed tax plan that are harmful to higher education.  
  • NYU alumni received 14 Golden Globe Awards nominations
  • Three NYU alumni—Fei Peng (Stern '17), Nofar, Mandy Tan (NYU Abu Dhabi '15), and Anthony Wang (Stern '15)—and one NYU student, Hamrany (Shanghai '18), were named 2019 Schwarzman scholars.
  • The inaugural Being@NYU Assessment of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion concluded on Dec. 15, with 22,020 students, faculty, administrators, and staff—or 31.96% of our community—participating in the effort. (Stay tuned for information on results this spring.)