The New School names Dr. Dwight McBride new president

The New School Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Dr. Dwight A. McBride, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emory University, as the ninth president of The New School. The announcement comes as The New School celebrates its Centennial, a milestone of academic leadership, public engagement, and creative experimentation. With more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and 146 degree programs, The New School is the only university with world-renowned, comprehensive design, social sciences, humanities, and performing arts schools. Its distinctive strength derives from its core commitments to creativity and social engagement.

Dr. McBride will assume his new position as President of The New School in Spring 2020. He has been Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies, Distinguished Affiliated Professor of English, and Associated Faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory since 2017. Dr. McBride will succeed David E. Van Zandt, who concludes his presidency after nearly a decade leading The New School.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dwight to The New School,” said Joseph R. Gromek, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the President Search Committee. “Dwight is a phenomenal leader, a builder of complex programs, an academic, and a scholar who has a
great appreciation for our mission, values and goals. His exceptional experience embodies a commitment to all aspects of academic excellence and demonstrates his dedication to ensuring students are at the center of higher education’s mission. As The New School marks its Centennial and we look forward to the next one hundred years, he is clearly the right leader for this university at this extraordinary moment in its history. I along with the rest of the Board and the university community look forward to working with Dwight.”

“Selecting The New School’s President is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities,” said Linda E. Rappaport, Chair-elect of The New School Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the President Search Committee. “The voices and commitment of the Search Committee and the entire university community were essential in our selection of Dwight. His leadership, experience, and vision demonstrated to us that he embraces the mission of The New School, as well as our creative and innovative spirit, our urban character, our distinctive global presence, our diverse community, our vibrancy, and our focus on the future. My Board colleagues and I are excited to welcome Dwight to the university and are grateful for the time and energy so many invested to help us reach this important decision.”

“I am deeply honored to accept this appointment as the next president of this wonderful institution, in the great city of New York, and am grateful to the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees for conducting such a thoughtful and engaging search process,” President-elect McBride said. “I’m very much looking forward to working together with the trustees, faculty, students, staff, and alumni to advance the strengths that define and differentiate The New School and position the university to shape our world at the intersection of design, the social sciences, humanities, and performing arts.”

Prior to serving as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emory, Dr. McBride was Dean of The Graduate School and Associate Provost for Graduate Education, as well as the Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English, and Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Previously, he was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. McBride holds a BA in English and African American Studies from Princeton University and an MA and PhD in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

A leading scholar of race and literary studies, Dr. McBride has published award-winning books, essays, articles, and edited volumes that examine connections between race theory, black studies, and identity politics. His book Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality, a collection of essays offering contemporary cultural criticism, was nominated for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award and the 2006 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. He is a two-time Lambda Literary Award winner and has been principal investigator on grants from the Teagle Foundation and the Arcus Foundation. In 2003, he was awarded Monette/Horowitz Trust 2003 Achievement Award for independent research that combats homophobia. Most recently, Dr. McBride co-edited the posthumous books of two colleagues: Lindon Barrett’s Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity and Vincent Woodard’s The Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture. His research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. McBride is co-founder and co-editor of the annual journal, the James Baldwin Review, co-editor of The New Black Studies Series at the University of Illinois Press, and is currently completing a new book on Phillis Wheatley and her critics.

“I am joining a community that truly inspires me,” Dr. McBride said. “I look forward to using all I have learned throughout my career to help the students, faculty, and staff seize the possibilities of this century and make their mark on the world. I am excited for the opportunity to have a role in shaping the university’s future and ensuring that The New School builds on its inspiring legacy of preparing socially responsible citizens for the challenges of tomorrow.”

Dr. McBride continued, “I am committed to strengthening the research, scholarship, innovation, and collaboration that has distinguished The New School throughout its history. That means pursuing new levels of excellence and even deeper collaboration to fuel the university’s bold, boundary-crossing approaches to global problem solving.”

Emory University President Claire E. Sterk expressed her appreciation for Provost McBride’s contributions to Emory during his tenure. “I know that The New School community will appreciate the passion, warmth and leadership that Dwight will bring to his new role. While at Emory, Provost McBride focused on reinforcing the university’s commitment to academic eminence, and on nurturing an intellectual, inclusive community. I am certain that he will continue to foster these attributes as he undertakes this new, exciting endeavor.”

The naming of a new president comes as The New School celebrates 100 years and honors the legacy of founders Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen, among others, who set out to create a university where creativity could be world-changing. A century on, The New School has redrawn and redefined the boundaries of intellectual and creative thought as a preeminent academic center, offering some of the nation’s most respected degree programs in the humanities and social sciences, design, and the performing arts.

President-elect McBride takes the helm at a time of unprecedented momentum for The New School. With its distinctive cores of excellence in design, the humanities and social sciences, and the performing arts, the university draws students from around the world to its New York and Paris campuses. Over the past 10 years, it has become more integrated academically and consolidated its New York campus in the heart of Greenwich Village so that students can benefit from all of The New School’s leading, innovative programs. The endowment and fundraising have reached all-time highs, enabling the university to expand its offerings through new degree programs and interdisciplinary study options designed to equip graduates for globalization, urbanization, and technological innovation.

“On behalf of the entire New School community, we also express our profound thanks and deep gratitude to President Van Zandt for his strong leadership over these past ten years,” Mr. Gromek said. “He has guided the university to become a much stronger, exciting and highly relevant institution.”

The search for a new president began in February 2019. The Search Committee, which included student, faculty, and administrative representation, was charged with presenting to the Board of Trustees a forward-looking academic leader who embraced The New School’s longstanding commitment to academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. The Board engaged the community early in the process by soliciting input and nominations, and provided regular updates during the nine-month process.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.

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