President Robinson to Lead the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art

“I will leave The Graduate Center with pride in its standing and confidence in its future.”

Dear Colleagues:

President Chase F. RobinsonAs 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.

Kind regards,

President Robinson's signature

Chase F. Robinson

Read press releases from:
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian The Smithsonian News Desk

Read a message from Interim Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz »

Media Coverage:

Accomplishments Under President Robinson’s Tenure

I will leave The Graduate Center with pride in its standing and confidence in its future. My time at The Graduate Center has been gratifying, not merely because we have accomplished so much, but because our accomplishments have been collective.

Together, we have:

  • Recruited dozens of world-class faculty from many of the world’s most distinguished public and private colleges and universities, including our first Nobel Laureate.
  • Enhanced long-standing strengths in the humanities by attracting The Graduate Center’s largest-ever foundation grants in support of the arts and humanities.
  • Established new strengths in the sciences by launching the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, leading the Advanced Science Research Center, and hiring leading scientists and researchers, who are now attracting record levels of sponsored research.
  • Made The Graduate Center a national leader in innovative pedagogy, and digital teaching and learning, by establishing the Futures Initiative and the constellation of labs, centers, programs, and degrees that constitute GC Digital Initiatives.
  • Established The Graduate Center as a hub of interdisciplinary research and scholarship by creating the Advanced Research Collaborative, which has supported over 100 faculty fellows, and the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context.
  • Launched a major initiative in the study of socio-economic inequality by recruiting leading faculty and establishing the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, funded by The Graduate Center’s largest ever gift for an academic center.
  • Made major strides in diversifying student and faculty populations, increasing the proportion of full-time faculty and enrolling students from underrepresented groups, and establishing the position of Presidential Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Enhanced financial aid support for our students to increase access and opportunity and foster student travel and research.
  • Recruited students of unprecedented quality, witnessing a reduction in the admission rate for Ph.D. programs from 36% to 18% while increasing our yield and diversity.
  • Enhanced doctoral training by establishing the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, the Teaching and Learning Center, a variety of early research opportunities, and improving student services, including parental policy and disabilities support services.
  • Expanded our portfolio of master’s programs, doubling the number of degrees and enrollment.
  • Strengthened The Graduate Center Foundation Board by adding 10 new trustees.
  • Created local and international partnerships with the likes of the New-York Historical Society, the Morgan Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Botanical Garden, the Vera Institute of Justice, the University of Vienna, the University of Ibadan, and the American University of Beirut.
  • Enhanced public programming, curating several major series in public affairs and the arts, and drawing tens of thousands of guests to The Graduate Center.

Submitted on: AUG 21, 2018

Category: General GC News | President's Office - Archive | Press Room