Andrew Hamilton, formerly vice chancellor of Oxford University, will become the president of New York University next year, where his history as a personable administrator capable of dealing with tough situations is likely to come in handy.
NYU is rising in fame, with illustrious alums including Thomas Murphy, managing director and CFO of General Atlantic, as well as Tom Freston, former CEO of MTV. NYU’s intake has soared over the past few years, to the point where it is one of the largest private nonprofit universities in the US. The school has also expanded overseas with a variety of foreign campuses, including one in Abu Dhabi and one in Shanghai.
However, expansion hasn’t come without growing pains. In 2013, frustrated with what they viewed as a lack of administrative interest in their opinions, faculty from five NYU schools passed votes of no confidence in Hamilton’s predecessor. In addition, those growing overseas campuses have struggled with their own issues, coming under fire for mistreating and underpaying faculty. And NYU plans to expand into Greenwich Village in Manhattan have met with vocal neighborhood opposition.
Hamilton is familiar with these sorts of issues. When he joined Oxford in 2009, dons were just coming off of a dispute with the previous vice-chancellor regarding university governance. Hamilton’s time at Oxford also included numerous budget cuts and restraints.
Despite these setbacks, Hamilton successfully led the Oxford Thinking campaign in raising more than £1.9 billion—quite a feat for an academic community not known for its culture of alumni donations.
Sally Mapstone, pro-vice-chancellor for personnel and equality at Oxford, expressed confidence in Hamilton’s ability to succeed with NYU. She described him as “a friendly person, an extrovert, loquacious—but in the nicest possible way.”
Hamilton will not be a stranger to the US—his three children live in New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, respectively, and his past professional haunts include the University of Pittsburgh and Yale.