The Appointment of Andrew Hamilton as the 16th President of NYU
TO: THE NYU COMMUNITY
FROM: Martin Lipton, Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees, and William Berkley, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Chair-Designate of the Board of Trustees
DATE: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
On behalf of all our colleagues on the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee, we are pleased and proud to announce the appointment of Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton—the University of Oxford’s senior officer, a noted chemist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the former Provost of Yale—as the 16th President of New York University. He will officially take up his duties in January 2016.
Professor Hamilton plans to visit NYU regularly before taking up the Presidency and greatly looks forward to meeting future colleagues and getting to know at first-hand the breadth and dynamism of the University. In addition to his duties as President, he intends to maintain an active program at NYU of teaching and research.
It is a testament to NYU’s stature, reputation, and academic momentum that the search for a new president drew an extraordinary field of superbly qualified and talented leaders in higher education from which Professor Hamilton emerged as our top candidate. The Search Committee—aided by the guidance we received from the more than two dozen listening sessions we attended—worked together seamlessly on our shared goal: to find the best possible president for NYU. What set Professor Hamilton apart for the Committee from the formidable field of candidates was the unusual combination of his outstanding scholarship in his field, his record of achievement in leadership posts at top universities, his commitment to academic excellence and support for the faculty’s role in achieving this, his commitment to teaching and undergraduates, his support for graduate and professional school education, his belief in diversity and inclusiveness, his accomplishments in fundraising at Oxford, and his global background and outlook.
The committee was also impressed by his great intelligence, personal warmth, energy and entrepreneurial spirit, and natural feel for complex institutions. Everywhere he has served has benefited from the quality and style of his leadership. And it was clear to us that he understood NYU—our urban character, our distinctive global presence, our vibrancy, our diverse community, our focus on the future, our innovative spirit, our sense of being on the move, and our habit of exceeding others’ expectations.
In short, the committee believed that Professor Hamilton was just the right person at this moment in NYU’s history to build on the University’s academic momentum (the University has come so far in what is, by the standards of higher education, such a short time) and lead it to even greater achievements.
As Professor Raghu Sundaram, the Chair of the Faculty Senators Council and one of the six faculty on the Search Committee, noted:
“Professor Hamilton is an outstanding scholar and scientist with a superb record as an administrator at two of the world's most distinguished universities, a terrific fund-raiser with vast international experience—in short, virtually everything that the faculty at our 25-plus listening sessions and in emails to the committee mentioned they wanted in our next president. It is a privilege and honor to welcome him to NYU."
“And for the faculty on the search committee, this was the first time we were participating in an exercise of this sort. From that standpoint, just how well the committee worked and came together was a revelation. The discussions were as frank, free, and open as one could desire, everyone's input was sought at all points, and there was not a hint during the discussions of one person's opinion (be it trustee, faculty, dean, administrator, or student) being accorded a greater weight than another's. In short, an exemplary process. Kudos to Bill Berkley, Marty Lipton, and the rest of the Board.”
Jules O’Connor, the Chair of the Student Senators Council and one of the students on the Committee, said:
“I am very excited to welcome Andrew Hamilton into our NYU community and feel that he will be a tremendous force in leading the university forward. The search committee was passionate and enthusiastic from the first time we met him to his last round of interviews. Throughout the entire search process, there was open communication about thoughts and feelings concerning the next President as well as the trajectory of the university itself, and from these discussion and interviews, Andrew Hamilton emerged as the next President of NYU.”
David Vintinner, Chair of the Administrative Management Council, said:
“I have been honored to represent the voice of the administrators who have dedicated our careers to improving the University's services. The search committee was impressive in its breadth of perspectives, and in our unanimous consent even more so. Andrew Hamilton has proven to the entire committee that he will be able to provide the leadership NYU needs to pursue global excellence in the 21st Century.”
Andrew Hamilton has been Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford since 2009. Prior to that, he was the Provost of Yale University, where he was also the Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; he joined the Yale faculty in 1997. He joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1988, where was a tenured Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Chemistry Department. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, he was named an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University in 1981.
His area of scholarly interest lies at the intersection of organic and biologic chemistry, with particular focus on the use of synthetic design for the understanding, mimicry, and potential disruption of biological processes. He is widely published and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. A list of his publications can be found here. Among his many honors and awards, he is the recipient of the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he was the 2011 winner of the International Izatt-Christiansen Award for Macrocyclic Chemistry.
Professor Hamilton received a first class BSc from the University of Exeter, his master’s degree from the University of British Columbia, and his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He did post-doctoral work at the Université Louis Pasteur.
Vice Chancellor Hamilton is married. He and his wife, Jennie, have three adult children who all live in the United States—in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
We want to thank the members of the Search Committee—whose names are listed below—for their dedication, hard work, and discernment. Bringing together the guidance they received from the listening sessions, their keen understanding of the various University constituencies, and their own excellent judgment and foresight about the University’s needs, they found among the many nominees an ideal candidate. And they were more than just gatekeepers—they were ambassadors for the University. Their seriousness of purpose, the dignity with which they treated candidates, their belief in NYU’s great future, and their manifest love for NYU was crucially important in showcasing for candidates the kind of university NYU has become.
That NYU could attract an academic leader such as Andrew Hamilton in particular, and a field of enormously talented candidates in general, is proof of how far NYU has come in the 40 years since it was compelled to sell its Bronx campus. Many people had a hand in building this great university—faculty, trustees, deans, alumni/ae, students, administrators—but none more so than John Sexton.
To note just a few accomplishments of John’s presidency:
- Applicants for freshman admission have more than doubled, and their academic qualifications have improved.
- NYU’s international stature has grown tremendously, as demonstrated both by the fact that NYU is the first U.S. university in 15 years to both send the greatest number of students abroad and attract the greatest number of international students, and by the fact that in 2012 NYU was the #1 U.S. university searched by international students through the College Board.
- We have opened successful new degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai that have attracted superb students, outstanding faculty, and the praise of world leaders.
- Tenured and tenure-track positions in the arts and sciences were expanded by 20%.
- NYU faculty were recipients of multiple Nobel Prizes, Abel Prizes, National Medals of Science, Technology, and the Arts, Pulitzer Prizes, and Oscars, among others. The number of NYU faculty who are members of the National Academy of Sciences increased from 18 to 31.
- NYU rose in all major rankings.
- We opened NYU’s first new science building in three decades, created new lab space, and built new areas of scientific strength.
- NYU Langone Medical Center improved dramatically—it was ranked #1 in patient safety and overall quality among national academic medical centers, and the School of Medicine, the College of Dentistry, and the College of Nursing have come to be ranked among the top schools nationally in terms of research.
- Engineering was restored as a school after an absence of 40 years.
- The financial aid budget was more than doubled, and the average financial aid award increased from 34% of tuition to 55% of tuition.
- Student diversity increased in terms of underrepresented students of color, economic diversity, and geographic diversity.
- NYU developed its first long-term strategic space plan for physical growth and secured necessary city approvals.
- Some $5 billion was raised, and the endowment tripled.
- Because of his manifest leadership, John was asked to take on key roles in the most influential higher education organizations and other major institutions, such as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as well as being the recipient of honors from other major universities and higher education groups.
John repeatedly said to the Board that the highest role he saw for himself was to leave the University in better shape than when he took on the presidency, and to pave the way for the 16th president to carry NYU further. In that noble goal, he was eminently successful.
So, we ask you to join us in thanking the Search Committee’s members for the excellent work they did in bringing us Andrew Hamilton, to thank John Sexton for his exemplary and game-changing service as president, to congratulate Andrew Hamilton on his appointment as the 16th president of NYU, and to welcome him to the University community.
MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE
William R. Berkley, Chair
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Phyllis Putter Barasch
Evan R. Chesler
Gloria M. Coruzzi
Laurence D. Fink
Robert I. Grossman
Kenneth G. Langone
Kelly Kennedy Mack
Ann Marie P. Mauro
Trevor W. Morrison
Rangarajan (Raghu) K. Sundaram
Daniel R. Tisch
Ellen Schall, Coordinator to the Search Committee