Free medical school tuition. A Nobel, a Pulitzer, and a Turing Award. The most diverse and the most selective class in NYU history. Even for a university that never rests, the 2018-19 academic year was especially packed with individual accomplishments and institutional milestones—from historic Oscar wins to bold commitments to sustainability, accessibility, and diversity on our campuses and in our communities. Before we send our 2019 graduates into the world to continue their work on the most pressing questions of our time, we present a highlight reel as well as a month-by-month look back at some news highlights from yet another remarkable school year.



  • NYU Journalism student Mathieu Faure won the Student Academy Award for his documentary An Edited Life
  • Fourteen NYU alumni won Emmy Awards, including Tisch's Rachel Brosnahan, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). 
  • Seventeen-time Grammy Award-winning musician, actor, politician, and activist Rubén Blades became Steinhardt’s inaugural Scholar-in-Residence
  • Lydia Mason (CAS ’21) won the NYU Constitution Day Slam—hosted by the NYU Brademas Center and NYU Government Affairs—for her poem, "Dear America." 
  • NYU President Andy Hamilton and Provost Katy Fleming announced new sustainability efforts for 2018 and beyond. Measures include eliminating plastic straws and bags on campus, and launching a high-tech waste management system.  
  • NYU Shanghai professor Zhang Zheng was selcted to head Amazon’s New AI Lab.


  • Paul Romer, founder of the NYU Stern School of Business Urbanization Project and former director of NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, won the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics. 
  • Results and next steps from the Being@NYU Assessment of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion were presented to the NYU community.
  • The NYC Economic Development Corporation launched a $100 million effort to turn New York into the cyber security capital of the world, with NYU Tandon as one its key partners in offering certifications and degrees.
  • With productions including A Doll’s House, Part 2, Tisch alum Lucas Hnath was named the most-produced playwright in the country for 2018, according to American Theatre magazine's annual list.
  • Gallatin alum Adam Mosseri was named the new head of Instagram
  • Isabela “Isay” Acenas (CAS ’21), H.E. Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazrui (NYUAD ’14), Alina Das (WAG ’05, LAW ’05), and the NYU Veterans Working Group were presented the 2018 Making a Difference Award by President Hamilton.  


  • Two NYU Abu Dhabi seniors—Majida Al Maktoum and Amal Al Gergawi—were selected as 2019 UAE Rhodes Scholars
  • NYU released its inaugural Community Impact Report, detailing the University's most notable efforts to give back to its communities, both locally and globally. It encompasses service and volunteer projects, research targeted to our local communities, direct support to organizations, and public programming.
  • NYU announced plans to launch a new program in Los Angeles for students in the arts and creative professions. 
  • The NYU women's and men's soccer teams were selected to compete in the NCAA tournament—marking the first time both teams are chosen in the same year.
  • NYU was ranked No. 1 in higher education again by the IIE for the number of international students attending NYU and the number of NYU students studying abroad.   


  • Four NYU students were selected as 2020 Schwarzman Scholars
  • Global TIES for Children—an international research center embedded within NYU's Institute of Human Development and Social Change and the NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute—announced it would partner with Sesame Workshop to expand research on child development through a $100 million LEGO Foundation grant
  • On the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the 1985 film Buddiesstarring Wagner’s Associate Dean David Schacter (Tisch ’82, Wagner ’94), was screened at the school. 
  • The NYU Greek community's dance marathon raised a record-breaking $607,689 for the B+ (Be Positive) Foundation, which fights childhood cancer by funding research, raising awareness, and providing financial assistance to the families of childen with cancer.


  • NYU kicked off a semester-long program of talks, exhibitions, and performances to commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which began blocks away from our Washington Square campus on June 28, 1969.
  • For the 12th year in a row, a record number of people applied to NYU. The University received 84,481 applications for first-year admission for fall 2019, an increase of 12% from last year. 
  • Seven NYU alumni won Golden Globes.
  • Senior Vice President Lynne Brown submitted a letter to the US Department of Education outlining concerns about proposed changes to the manner in which universities conduct proceedings for cases involving sexual misconduct under Title IX.


  • President Andrew Hamilton and Assistant Vice President for Sustainability Cecil Scheib announced several new sustainability initiatives, including a pledge by the University to stop purchasing single-use plastic water bottles on January 1, 2020. The new policy is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year.
  • NYU announced the creation of a new medical school at the NYU Winthrop Hospital campus in Mineola, Long Island, which will offer a tuition-free, three-year degree with a focus on training and producing primary care physicians. 
  • The NYU College of Dentistry opened the Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities, providing comprehensive services for patients whose physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities prevent them from receiving care in a conventional dental setting. 
  • Twenty-five members of the NYU community were nominated for 37 Grammy awards. Childish Gambino—aka Donald Glover (Tisch ‘'06)—won Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Music Video for “This Is America.”
  • Four Tisch alumni took home Academy Awards: Professor Spike Lee (Tisch ’82, HON ’98) won an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay for his film BlacKkKlansman, with Kevin Willmott; Mahershala Ali (Tisch ’00) won for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Green Book; and Lady Gaga won for Best Original Song with “Shallow” from A Star Is Born.


  • Courant professor Yann LeCun, vice president and chief AI scientist at Facebook and founding director of NYU’s Center for Data Science, was awarded the Association for Computing Machinery A.M. Turing Award—known as “the Nobel Prize of Computing” for his breakthroughs in deep learning and convolutional neural networks. He shares the honor with Yoshua Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal, and Geoffrey Hinton, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and a vice president and engineering fellow at Google.
  • President Andy Hamilton launched a podcast, Conversations, featuring leading minds from the NYU community. His guest for the first episode was NYU Steinhardt scholar-in-residence Rubén Blades. 
  • With an acceptance rate of 16 percent and 34 percent of the of the Class of 2023 made up of underrepresented minorities, NYU admitted the most diverse and the most selective class in its history. The mean SAT score for admitted students was 1480.
  • Provost Katherine Fleming announced the appointment of Antonio Merlo—distinguished political economist and current dean Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Rice University—as the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Science.
  • NYU ranked among the top 10 universities nationwide in selection of both Fulbright scholars and Fulbright students for the 2018-19 school year. 
  • Honore Collins—2019 NYU Female Junior Scholar Athlete of the Year, six-time All-American, and four-time National Champion—was named the NCAA Division III Women's Swimmer of the Year after winning three NCAA individual championships.


  • NYU announced poet and Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander as the speaker for NYU’s 187th Commencement Exercises at Yankee Stadium. Other 2019 honorary degree recipients include archivist Abdel Kader Haidara, Librarian of Congress Carla Diane Hayden, acting director of the National Cancer Institute Douglas R. Lowy, and playwright Terrence McNally.
  • Eliza Griswold, a distinguished writer in residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction for Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.
  • Eight NYU faculty were elected as fellows to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
  • At 19, NYU freshman Phillip Youmans—who wrote and directed the feature Burning Cane—became the youngest filmmaker ever accepted to compete in the Tribeca Film Festival, and the first African American director to win best U.S. narrative feature.
  • Mariet Westermann—executive vice president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, former provost of NYU Abu Dhabi, former director of NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, and art historian—was appointed vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, effective August 1, 2019.
  • Russel Caflisch, director of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and Gloria Coruzzi, a professor in the Department of Biology, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Four NYU professors—Alexander Galloway, Karen Hartman, Robin Coste Lewis, and Helen Schulman—were awarded 2019 Guggenheim Fellowships.
  • The NYU student group N'Harmonics won the 2019 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICAA) Finals.


  • President Hamilton issued an update on advances in the sciences at the University. NYU competes for grants with a success rate of 29%, consistently beating national averages of 23%. An increase in R&D investment pushed NYU from being ranked No. 55 in the US by the National Science Foundation just 10 years ago to being ranked No. 18 now (or No. 9 among private institutions).