Photo of President Andy Hamilton looking at the red-tailed hawk on his office window ledge

President Andy Hamilton gets a visit from one of NYU’s resident red-tailed hawks on his office window ledge.

A Look Back at Andrew Hamilton’s Remarkable Tenure

By Dulcy Israel

Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, and Oxford were institutions on Andrew Hamilton’s CV. The chemist even had the postnominal letters FRS, indicating his fellowship in the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national scientific academy (fellow fellows include Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking).  
            But much more than his résumé, it was the ability to solve complex problems with a seemingly unflappable temperament that made Hamilton such an ideal choice to lead NYU. Little did anyone know how much those skills would be put to the test.
            When the entire world ground to a halt in March 2020, Hamilton put the health and safety of the NYU community first and foremost when it came to making decisions. In-person classes pivoted to online learning, and COVID-19 testing centers were established. His steady and analytical nature expertly shepherded the university through what can only be deemed the most surreal and difficult of times.
            He laid out his priorities in his inaugural address in September 2016: affordability, sustainability, science, diversity, and raising NYU’s profile in Brooklyn and around the globe. Nearly eight years on, it’s safe to say he made significant advances in each of those realms.
            The university climbed to No. 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities list and No. 24 in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking; applications for first-year admission increased by 40 percent; NYU has more Pell Grants than half of the Ivies combined; socioeconomic and racial diversity is the highest in this institution’s history; the university is meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for undergraduates; NYU Shanghai grew by leaps and bounds; research expenditures increased at a rate higher than any other college or university in the nation; and the Paulson Center opened.
            Students, faculty, administrators, and alumni—who sang his praises at a farewell fête—are grateful for what Hamilton accomplished. After a well-earned sabbatical, he’ll return to the chemistry faculty. That is to say, this husband, father of three, and grandfather of five will remain an Englishman in New York.

—Photo by Eric Klinenberg