The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York has appointed Dr. Chase F. Robinson president of the Graduate Center, effective July 1, 2014. He has been the interim president of the Graduate Center since 2013.
Chancellor James B. Milliken recommended Dr. Robinson after a national search. The search committee was chaired by Peter Pantaleo, a member of the CUNY Board of Trustees, and included trustees, the dean of the CUNY Law School, and faculty, student, and Graduate Center Foundation representatives. The chancellor stated, “Dr. Robinson has played a leading role in raising the CUNY Graduate Center’s prominence as a national and international center of learning and research. With his leadership, the Graduate Center will continue to build its world-class faculty, attract and educate the very best doctoral students, and deepen its research culture.”
From 2008 through June 2013, Robinson served as provost and senior vice president of the Graduate Center. In that capacity, he led a comprehensive planning process culminating in the GC’s Strategic Plan for 2012–16, outlining the institution’s major goals. He also worked with the university’s Office of Institutional Advancement to secure major funding to enhance faculty and student support; helped establish the GC at the forefront of the digital revolution within higher education; and expanded the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. In addition, he recruited two dozen senior faculty to the GC and launched several major initiatives, including the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, and the Advanced Research Collaborative. Robinson’s major funded research at the GC includes a three-year, $2.4 million award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2010.
“It is a great privilege to lead the extraordinary community of scholars, students, and staff that is the Graduate Center,” said President Robinson. “Devoted to advanced research and Ph.D. training, the Graduate Center is a genuinely unique institution with a distinct mission: to create and disseminate knowledge for the public good. Deeply rooted in CUNY and its colleges, we reflect the rich diversity and dynamism of our global city.”
Robinson received an A.B. (Honors) from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where he was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, the University of Oxford, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he received a two-year British Academy Research Readership.
A specialist in early Islamic history, Robinson is the author or editor of seven books and more than forty articles. He also serves on a number of editorial and review boards, and his commentaries have appeared in Inside Higher Education, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Huffington Post, and the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement. His research has been funded by the British Academy, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.