New Center Provides Support for a Wide Range of NYU’s Global Activities New York University President L. Jay Oliva today officiated at the opening of the new Lillian Vernon Center for International Affairs, named in honor of catalog entrepreneur Lillian Vernon in gratitude for her major gift supporting NYU’s international programs. Dr. Oliva was joined by European Union Ambassador Hugo Paemen, NYU Trustee Laurence A. Tisch, members of the diplomatic corps, and some 30 foreign university leaders to honor Lillian Vernon at a gala ceremony and dinner to commemorate the dedication of the facility on Thursday evening, February 11, 1999.
The new center located in a building at 58 West 10th Street that was once home to the Tile Club, whose members included Winslow Homer and Augustus Saint-Gaudens among others houses several of the University’s most important international enterprises. These include the NYU Center for European Studies, the NYU Student Center for European Studies, the European Union Center of New York, and the League of World Universities.
Dr. Oliva said, “To a greater and greater degree, the incorporation of a global experience into a university education is becoming much less of a luxury and much more of a necessity. However, it requires great effort and perseverance on the part of colleges and universities. They must build programs and supports that ensure quality, accountability, and access.
“With the creation of the Lillian Vernon Center for International Affairs, we take another major step forward in translating our global vision into a reality. It will provide support for some of our most important international efforts.
“I want to express the University’s deep gratitude to Lillian Vernon for her generous gift and support. As a businesswoman, she has always had the gift of seeing opportunities that remain obscure to others. I believe that in making this center possible, she recognizes the value of NYU’s international programs.”
The Lillian Vernon Center is the latest element in NYU’s global education efforts. Other initiatives include the establishment of global study centers in Florence, Paris, Prague and Madrid (with the possibility of additional programs being established in Buenos Aires, London, Dublin, Istanbul, Capetown and Asian sites); student study abroad; year-long and multi-year visiting professorships for scholars from abroad; participation in the League of World Universities; recruitment of foreign students; use of computer and telecommunications technology for joint classes with foreign universities; and the establishment of international houses on NYU’s campus, among other undertakings.
The Lillian Vernon International House serves as a focal point for many of the University’s international activities including seminars, presentations, conferences, and receptions.
It serves as the Washington Square home of the League of World Universities, providing office space for rectors and other university leaders from the League who often spend time at NYU and in New York. The League of World Universities is a group of urban-based research universities from throughout the world that work together to address common problems in higher education world-wide. It was first convened in 1991 by NYU’s president, L. Jay Oliva, who is the League’s chairman. Some 30 university leaders, at NYU for a League meeting on the issue of American-style fundraising and revenue diversification, attended the opening.
The Center is also the home for the Center for European Studies, which was created to support and promote interdisciplinary study of contemporary Europe and to coordinate the many European programs and activities that exist at NYU. The Center’s focus is on Europe in its entirety, utilizing the contributions of both the social sciences and the humanities toward an understanding of the evolving social, political, and economic relationships within and among European nations.
The Student Center for International Study, which advises students on study abroad opportunities, is also located in the Lillian Vernon International House. The Student Center for International Study serves as a resource center for students interested in studying abroad. Students are advised about various sites, course offerings, student life, visas and travel. The Center’s staff works with faculty to coordinate the academic component of NYU’s programs abroad (in Florence, Madrid, Paris, and Prague). In addition, the Center manages NYU’s 12 Global Exchange Programs and maintains an informational library for students who wish to pursue other study abroad options. In the coming year, additional programs and sites will become available.
NYU purchased the townhouse at 58 West 10th Street from the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. The building contains conference and meeting rooms, study areas, and faculty and administrative offices.
The townhouse, characterized by lovely stained glass windows, had been known as a gathering spot for artists and intellectuals as early as the 1870s. It was in this house that the members of the Tile Club met and conducted their famous symposia. When the club dissolved, Maitland Armstrong purchased the house and, with the assistance of the distinguished architect Stanford White, renovated it. Along quiet, tree-lined West 10th Street were residences of such well-known authors and artists as Mark Twain, Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, Frederic Church, Frederick MacMonnies, Louis Bouche, Maurice Evans, and Edward Albee.
New York University was established in 1831. Located in New York City’s historic Greenwich Village, NYU was specifically modeled on the great urban universities of Europe and was founded to serve the emerging middle class and new Americans. NYU is one of the largest private universities in the U.S., and it has the largest number of students from foreign lands of any U.S. college or university. Through its 13 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and science, law, medicine, dentistry, business, education, nursing, public administration and policy, social work, and the cinematic and performing arts, among other areas.