“I will leave The Graduate Center with pride in its standing and confidence in its future.”
As you enjoy the final days of summer and complete your preparations for the fall semester, I want to share important news.
After a decade of service to The Graduate Center and The City University of New York, I will be stepping down as president. In December, I will take up the position of Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution’s two museums of Asian art in Washington, D.C. David J. Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, made the announcement today.
I will leave The Graduate Center with pride in its standing and confidence in its future. The Graduate Center holds a unique position in public higher education. At a time of increased income inequality, political polarization, and a precipitous decline in political and cultural discourse, the research and teaching of our students and faculty have never been more important. It has been a personal and professional honor to lead our collective commitment to advancing research for the public good.
My time at The Graduate Center has been deeply gratifying. Together, we have recruited dozens of world-class faculty; enhanced traditional strengths in the humanities and built new ones in the experimental and theoretical sciences; established a national reputation in interdisciplinarity, digital pedagogy, and research, including the study of socio-economic inequality; increased the diversity of our faculty ranks and student body; admitted and enrolled students of unprecedented quality; doubled our master’s offerings and master’s enrollment; and strengthened our Foundation Board. While I take tremendous pride in these accomplishments, they are a product of the collective efforts of my very talented colleagues.
Provost and Senior Vice President Joy Connolly, former Interim Provost Louise Lennihan, our deans and executive officers, both past and present—they all exemplify the very best of public education. Members of The Graduate Center Foundation, led by Peter Darrow, have been generous in sharing their time, talents, and advice. And my senior staff members, along with the members of the cabinet, have served our community with great distinction.
Of course, it’s not administrators who are at the heart of The Graduate Center. It’s faculty, staff, and students, whose talents and energies animate our offices, classrooms, labs, and public spaces, and in whose accomplishments we are all fortunate to share. To them all, I am immensely grateful.
CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz will soon announce the appointment of an interim president. In due course, a national search for the sixth president of The Graduate Center will commence. To ensure a smooth and productive transition, I will continue to serve as president through the fall term.
The Freer|Sackler exists “to enhance understanding and appreciation across cultures.” My decision to leave The Graduate Center was eased by the close affinity between this mission and the principles that I have been able to champion here. My work at the Smithsonian will continue the work that I started in this remarkable community of scholars and students. I am grateful for the support of the CUNY Board of Trustees, which is so ably led by Chairperson William Thompson and Vice Chairperson Barry Schwartz, and to Interim Chancellor Rabinowitz for her commitment to the values of CUNY.
Thank you for making my time at the GC such a privilege.
Chase F. Robinson