March 24, 2015
Dear NYU colleagues,
It won’t surprise you that these past few days have been a whirlwind of activity for me. Since the announcement last Wednesday, I have been swept up in phone calls with new colleagues and a staggering number of welcoming emails and messages. I am immensely proud and excited to be chosen by the NYU Board of Trustees as the next President of NYU. NYU is a remarkable university, and I look forward to the beginning of many productive and enjoyable years as part of the NYU community in New York City and all around the world. In the months between now and early January, I will take every opportunity I can to listen and to learn the full breadth of this great institution. However, even before then, I wanted send you this short note of greeting and introduction.
My professional life has been defined by my role as a faculty member. I am a chemist by training, carrying out most of my research at the intersection of chemistry and biology, seeking ways to use chemistry to intervene in biological systems, specifically human diseases. I am very much looking forward to joining the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science as part of the Chemistry Department and it will be a great privilege for me to collaborate with my colleagues in engaging NYU’s diverse and talented student body in research and teaching.
As an administrator, I most recently served as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford and before that as Provost at Yale. These were immensely gratifying positions, largely because they allowed me to work with students and with my faculty colleagues to develop and support the teaching and research missions of the institutions.
As my wife Jennie and I contemplate our move to New York City, we are looking forward to returning to our adoptive country and to our three children who live two on the Eastern seaboard and one in LA. I am eager to begin this new chapter in my life, and am excited to become part of NYU’s future. Over the past few years from 3000 miles distance in Oxford, and before that from 80-odd miles up I-95, I have watched NYU follow an extraordinary—indeed a unique—trajectory, and I want to do everything I can to help to ensure that it continues. The steep ascent in the quality of NYU’s research, the high caliber of the education it offers its students, and the esteem in which the university is held are striking to behold and are unprecedented in higher education. You should be immensely proud of NYU’s international standing—and the part you played in achieving it. I am deeply honored to be asked to join all of you in this grand endeavor.
In exploring the many and multifaceted dimensions of NYU over the past weeks, I have asked a wide range of people both inside and outside the University, for their perspectives. Everyone has highlighted the energy, the vibrancy and the dynamism of NYU. That these characteristics, previously confined to New York City, now extend to a truly global NYU community makes this University all the more exceptional and promising. Jennie and I keenly look forward to becoming part of this community to listening and learning, to hearing your thoughts as we work together.
I send this note with good wishes and anticipation from the UK. It is the first of many steps I will take as we get to know each other. I am preparing over the coming months to make several trips to the different parts of the NYU world and look forward to meeting many of you on these visits I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of the semester, and I look forward to joining you as a colleague soon.