Date:   November 20, 2023
To:       The NYU Abu Dhabi Community
From:  NYU President Linda G. Mills

As you read a little earlier today in her note to the NYUAD community, Mariët Westermann has accepted the position of Director and CEO of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. Although we are sorry to lose such an outstanding colleague, we cannot help but be glad for Mariët and for the Guggenheim: she has been chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in the world of fine arts, and the Guggenheim has selected a fabulous leader in higher education and the arts.

I know this was not an easy decision for Mariët: she has been involved in NYU Abu Dhabi since its inception, and the successful institution we know today bears the hallmarks of both her early involvement and her recent leadership as vice chancellor — academic rigor; a profound commitment to the liberal arts and research; a strong sense of community; and a deep belief in the power of a global education. NYUAD has been a labor of love for Mariët, and she has cherished her time as vice chancellor, and made the most of it by strengthening and advancing the institution.

An exceptional leader, an esteemed colleague, a fervent advocate of the liberal arts and the humanities, an admired art historian, a wise friend, a graduate of NYU’s estimable Institute of Fine Arts and later its director, Mariët’s tenure at NYUAD has been characterized by great achievements. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she led NYUAD’s efforts to keep and support students on campus, and implement comprehensive testing and prevention measures so teaching and learning continued. She has grown the undergraduate program to its anticipated full size.  She launched the first two Masters programs, and developed the much-anticipated and much-lauded partnership with NYU Stern: the Stern @ NYUAD MBA program.

Together with NYUAD’s provost, Arlie Petters, Mariët has set a strategic framework in place for new, upcoming graduate programs across disciplines as well as professional education. On her watch, the faculty has grown by about 20 percent and 11 new research centers were launched under the NYUAD Research Institute. Students have continued to garner major awards at the pace set during NYUAD's first decade, with an additional 10 Rhodes Scholarships, bringing the total to 22, and 15 more Schwarzman Scholarships, for a total of 17. The number of visiting students from the New York and Shanghai campuses have grown substantially. And, most importantly, NYUAD’s institutional reputation and prominence in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the MENA region were greatly enhanced.

Mariët will take on her new assignment with the Guggenheim effective June 1, 2024. This is helpful, as it will ensure steady leadership through the end of the current academic year and allow us plenty of time to set interim leadership in place so that we can identify a successor as vice chancellor. I will be back in touch about these latter two topics soon.

Congratulations to Mariët. We will miss her, but we could not be happier for her. We will, of course, still see her in New York and Abu Dhabi as she begins the process of gradually assuming the leadership of one of the world’s most venerable art institutions, The Guggenheim.