A successor is being selected after Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, is announced as the next president of New York University.

Vice-Chancellor set to leave

Professor Andrew Hamilton, who has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford since 2009, is to be the next president of New York University. He will leave Oxford at the end of December and take up his new appointment in the new year.

Professor Hamilton, who is Oxford’s second longest serving vice-chancellor of the modern era, said: ‘It is a huge privilege to serve this great university and will remain so for the rest of my time here. It is premature to talk of achievements and legacies — there is still much to be done on my watch — but I am delighted to have been part of a very exciting, dynamic and successful time in Oxford’s long and illustrious history.’

Professor Hamilton added a message to alumni, saying: ‘Oxford’s alumni are the lifeblood of this institution. You are our advocates and ambassadors around the world and it has been my privilege to meet many of you in my travels around the UK and more globally.’

The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, said: ‘Andy has shared his departure plans with me, and I know he will continue to serve Oxford for his remaining period in office with the same remarkable energy and commitment that have made his tenure as Vice-Chancellor such a success. When the time comes, he will leave Oxford with our best wishes and sincere thanks.’

Christine Fairchild, Oxford’s director of alumni relations, paid tribute to the Vice-Chancellor’s work with alumni. ‘He has been a joy to work with and we have all benefited from his vision, commitment and infectious enthusiasm. And in turn, he has certainly found strength and support through the alumni community,’ she said.

The process of choosing a successor to Professor Hamilton in Oxford is well advanced. A committee charged with nominating the next vice-chancellor is expected to bring forward a name for approval by early June.

Professor Hamilton’s new appointment will take him back to the United States, where he has spent much of his working life. He taught chemistry at Princeton, Pittsburgh and Yale universities, and was provost of Yale from 2004 until taking up his Oxford role. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he is also an honorary fellow of Kellogg, Harris Manchester and St Cross colleges, and lives in Oxford with his wife Jennifer. Their three adult children all live in the US.

‘It won’t be easy to leave Oxford,’ he said. ‘I have learnt a great deal, and I’m sure the insights and experience gained here will stand me in good stead in my new role in New York.’ He said he was honoured to be named 16th president of NYU, the largest private university in the US, which he described as ‘an institution that has proven itself again and again to be a game-changer in a field in which that is uncommon’.

Martin Lipton, chair of the NYU board of trustees, said: ‘We know he will be a superb president and that he will advance NYU’s teaching and research missions to a new level of excellence.’ Among the achievements cited by NYU’s search committee in selecting Professor Hamilton were his commitment to academic excellence as well as ‘his accomplishments in fundraising at Oxford, and his global background and outlook’.

The challenges of running a university with NYU’s global reach — campuses in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates as well as a dozen smaller centres elsewhere — are freshly underlined by developments this week. The UAE has barred NYU professor Andrew Ross, a specialist in labour issues, from flying into the country because of criticisms he had made about the exploitation of migrant workers in the Emirates construction industry.

Photograph of Professor Andrew Hamilton © Oxford University Images / Phil Sayer Partnership.


By Ellie Alleyne

I am sure many fellow alumni here in Hong Kong share my admiration for and gratitude to Professor Hamilton for all he has done for our University in the few years he has been with us. NYU is fortunate to have him as its new leader. Please convey my thanks to him and my best wishes to both himself and Mrs Hamilton. Ellie Alleyne M.Litt (St HIlda's 1951-1953op)

By Kate Dobson

Andrew has been a wonderful Vice-Chancellor for Oxford. While wishing him well on the next phase of his career, I am sorry Oxford will lose his deft guiding hand on the tiller.

By Claude Prince

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton has done so much for Oxford and it's Oxford Thinking Campaign. I have talked with him on several occasions and is one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met. NYU is very lucky to have you. Oxford will miss you Professor Hamilton!