To: THE NYU ABU DHABI COMMUNITY
Date: Monday, March 12, 2018
From: President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming
As Al Bloom indicated to you earlier today, after ten years of remarkable leadership of NYU Abu Dhabi, he has decided to step down as its Vice Chancellor in August 2019.
Nearly two decades as the successful leader of one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the US would be, for most of us, the crowning achievement of a highly admirable career in higher education.
But most of us are not Al Bloom. So when, after 18 years as the president of Swarthmore, NYU invited him to take on a new and unique challenge—to build a world-class liberal arts research campus in Abu Dhabi from scratch and to extend the global network along with it—he leapt at it. And thank goodness he did, because a huge portion of the success we know today as NYU Abu Dhabi is due not only to his vision but to his bold willingness to move from leading a college of the highest quality to establishing a university of the highest quality, one that is intent on training students from around the world within a research institution of distinction to become global leaders.
Al has been a star at everything he has set his hand to: a summa cum laude student at Princeton, a Fulbright-Hays fellow, a Ph.D. recipient at Harvard, a stand-out scholar with respect to research on psychology and linguistics, an educational leader at Pitzer College, one of the longest serving and most transformative presidents of Swarthmore College, and the inaugural Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi.
He has been conscious from the beginning of his tenure as vice chancellor how important NYUAD's first decade would be for the future of NYUAD and for global higher education in general. Those early years of NYUAD's existence would set the school's character, establish its traditions, answer skeptics' questions, prove its academic merit, and make the case for global education. And Al—along with the school's outstanding faculty, dedicated administrators in Abu Dhabi and New York, and the talented students who chose NYUAD over prominent, established universities—achieved it all.
It is hard for us, as it must be for you, to imagine NYUAD without Al at the helm. But his faith in the school's trajectory gives us confidence in turn.
We will conduct an international search for his successor and will write again soon with more details about the search. In the meantime, we ask you to join us in expressing gratitude, respect, and pride in Al for all he has done to lead NYU Abu Dhabi and build it into the thriving and globally distinctive institution it is today.