A Letter from NYU President Andrew Hamilton
Date: April 13, 2022
TO: The NYU Community
FROM: Andrew Hamilton, President
The last few weeks of the academic year is always a natural time for career announcements, and I have one of my own. I have informed Board of Trustees Chair Bill Berkley of my intention to make next academic year my last as President of NYU. On June 30, 2023, I will step down as president and, after a sabbatical, return to my scholarly activities as professor in the chemistry department. By that time, I will be in my eighth year as president, the University will have withstood the worst of the pandemic, and the time will be ripe for new leadership for the next phase in the life of NYU.
I love being at NYU. Serving as your president has been an immense honor and I want to thank you all for your confidence in me and for the purposeful engagement with which we together have navigated these past years and their challenges.
Each of you will have your own thoughts about the recent history of NYU, but I for one could not be more proud of the continued upward academic trajectory of the University. Since 2015 our research rankings have risen (this year, NYU surpassed $1 billion in research spending for the first time), the number of applicants for undergraduate study (always a measure of institutional strength) has soared to a record breaking 106,000, and the academic quality and socioeconomic and racial diversity of the incoming class is at historic highs. I am proud that we have dropped significantly in one ranking, that of the cost of attendance; that our financial aid budget has increased dramatically, with NYU now educating more Pell grant recipients than half the Ivy League combined; that we have enrolled, for the first time, an entering first-year class for which we met demonstrated financial need; and that our medical school became the first in the nation to become tuition-free.
The improvements in our academic programs and facilities (so visible in new teaching and performance space at 181 Mercer, new research and clinical buildings along the 1st Avenue health corridor, and a thriving arts/tech hub in Brooklyn) are also a source of pride. As is NYU’s Global Network which has never been stronger nor more important, with a new campus for NYU Shanghai; a vibrant NYU Abu Dhabi; a new site in Los Angeles, and enhancements in our facilities and programs elsewhere.
I am proud, too, of the difficult conversations that we have engaged in across our community and the progress we have made in making NYU a more diverse and a more welcoming place. I am also proud of the steps we have taken towards enhancing our sustainability, as recognized by our rise in recent rankings of the top 50 Green Colleges. And I am both proud and profoundly grateful for the support of our alumni, friends, and donors which has generated a fundraising total across the University since late 2015 of more than $4B to support our academic mission.
But most of all, I am proud of the resilience and fortitude that NYU’s students, faculty, and staff have shown during the more than two years of the pandemic. The challenges presented by COVID-19 were the most difficult I have seen in my 40-year career in higher education and, I suspect, the worst faced by NYU since its financial crisis of the 1970s. Coupled with the profound calls for social and racial justice, growing political polarization, and the tragic war in Ukraine, these recent months and years have been like few others. Yet NYU has emerged stronger, with a robust financial picture, an ever-rising academic stature and self-confidence, and a renewed sense of purpose as one of the great universities of the world.
Our success during this time is due to you, the NYU community, and your willingness to work together with common purpose and New York toughness, not to mention that distinctive style of offering criticism and commentary! In the remaining 14 months that we have together, I will not slow down one jot and intend to ensure that NYU continues on this remarkable trajectory.
Not every sensation of pride during my presidency has come from the University: on a strictly personal note, this period was marked for Jennie and me by the arrival of our first grandchildren, now numbering five. That happy development plus my reaching the milestone of turning 70, have also contributed to my belief that now is the right moment to plan on stepping down as president.
NYU has been such a wonderful home for Jennie and me; we have greatly enjoyed our respective roles here and getting to know so many of you. For that warm welcome we thank you and I especially thank you for giving me the honor to serve you as your president.
Andrew Hamilton became president of NYU in January 2016. Below are some data from his presidency.