Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, a leading national advocate for the arts and humanities and dean of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts (TSOA) since 1991, will retire from her position as dean effective August 31, 2014.

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of NYU Tisch, to Step Down

Dean Campbell’s tenure as Dean of TSOA has been marked by a long period of highly successful innovation and the development of new areas of arts training and study. By enhancing the school’s traditional arts conservatory programs while creating and expanding departments in nascent disciplines, she helped cement TSOA’s reputation as one of the finest and most prestigious university-based arts schools in the nation. After taking a year-long sabbatical, Dean Campbell will continue to serve the NYU Tisch community as a tenured Professor in the Department of Art and Public Policy and as Dean Emerita.

“There is no fiercer champion of the arts and no educator more committed to her faculty, students, administrators, and staff than Mary; she has been a superb dean,” said John Sexton, President of New York University. "Her love for Tisch is crystal clear, and the school’s love for her is just as obvious. Her creative entrepreneurial skills have helped position Tisch and NYU at the center of one of the world’s most thriving and influential arts communities.”

Among the many programmatic accomplishments of her deanship were the expansion of TSOA’s groundbreaking inter-active media division, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP); the establishment of a multi-school Game Design Department at NYU’s new Multi-School Game Center (MAGNET) in Brooklyn; doubling the size of Tisch’s one-of-a-kind graduate musical theatre writing program and the founding of the New Studio on Broadway, an in-house musical theatre acting studio. Dean Campbell also encouraged the founding of new disciplines and departments, including a moving image archiving and preservation program, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, a dual degree MBA/MFA with NYU Stern School of Business, and a department of Arts and Public Policy with an MA in Arts Politics.

Over the last 22 years, Dean Campbell has pushed for the highest level of artistic and academic excellence throughout the Tisch community. Tisch students, faculty and alumni have won every major award in the arts including the Oscar, Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, Grammy, Emmy, Peabody, Golden Globe, Guggenheim, MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Fulbright, National Medal of the Arts, National Medal of Humanities, among others. Under her leadership, there were significant improvements in the average GPA and SAT scores of incoming freshman and in the retention rates of its continuing students; faculty diversity increased almost tenfold; and the school experienced an increase in the minority student population of nearly 200%. She also launched Tisch’s Talent Identification Process (TIP), an aggressive talent-scouting program to support Pell eligible students from all around the country who are top ranked academically and artistically to study at Tisch.

Prior to joining NYU, Dean Campbell was executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs under Mayor’s Koch and Dinkins. She has held the voluntary public positions of Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts and Vice-Chair of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and sits on the boards of The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival.

Dean Campbell earned her B.A. degree in English literature from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in art history from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in humanities, also from Syracuse. She co-edited with NYU Professor Randy Martin Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts, (New York: Routledge, 2006), and she is close to completing a cultural biography of the artist Romare Bearden for Oxford University Press.

“Those qualities that characterize Mary – her insight, her discernment, her leadership – not only made her an outstanding leader in higher education, but established her as one of most thoughtful, successful, and vigorous trailblazers within the New York City arts community,” said President Sexton. “We have been fortunate to have her as one of our leading lights here at NYU during a critical time of growth.”

Press Contact

Shonna Keogan
Shonna Keogan
(212) 998-6796