President Kelly Named Interim Chancellor at CUNY

The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York announced on April 23 that William P. Kelly, president of the Graduate Center, will serve as interim chancellor of the University starting July 1, following Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s announcement that he would step down after nearly fourteen years in the post. The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York will conduct a national search for a permanent chancellor.

Dr. Kelly, a distinguished scholar of American literature, vice chairman of the CUNY Research Foundation, and trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, was unanimously appointed to the interim position at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. He has served as a University educator for nearly four decades.

“Dr. Kelly brings an extensive scholarly record, superb administrative experience, and a deep commitment to the University’s educational mission to the position of interim Chancellor,” said Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt. “He will provide continuity of purpose and policy during this important transition period.”

Kelly has led the Graduate Center, CUNY’s doctorate-granting institution, since June 2005. Previously he served for seven years as the Graduate Center’s provost and senior vice president, a period marked by the recruitment of internationally renowned scholars to the graduate school’s faculty. Recently, he chaired a key component of the University’s Pathways to Degree Completion reform of general education and transfer policies, leading faculty committees that selected pathway courses for CUNY’s largest transfer majors.

Kelly has recommended to Chancellor Goldstein that Provost Chase F. Robinson serve as the Graduate Center’s interim president. Dr. Robinson was named provost and senior vice president of the Graduate Center in 2008. Robinson, a historian of the premodern Middle East, is also distinguished professor of history. As provost, he initiated and led a comprehensive planning process that culminated in the GC’s Strategic Plan for 2012–2016, outlining the institution’s major goals: increasing selectivity in admissions; enhancing financial support to ensure excellence and promote diversity; and generating a culture of interdisciplinary and collaborative learning and research.

Working collaboratively with the Office of Institutional Advancement, Robinson has secured major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which has enhanced faculty support and built the institution’s digital capacity, establishing the Graduate Center at the forefront of the digital evolution within higher education. His achievements at the GC also include a significant expansion in the Master’s of Liberal Studies and the launching of major initiatives such as the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, and the Advanced Research Collaborative, which brings together CUNY and international scholars in collaborative and interdisciplinary research in the social sciences and humanities.