NYU Stern Dean Plans to Resign, Citing Economic Trends

NYU Stern Dean

Members of the NYU Stern School of Business community today learned that Dean Peter Blair Henry will step down from his position at the end of this calendar year, having decided that the current state of the world calls for him to contribute in other ways.

“I did not make this decision lightly, but given the current trends affecting the national and global economy, I feel compelled to re-engage now with policy and recommit, full-time, to scholarship and my lifelong interest in the linked fortunes of advanced and developing economies,” he wrote in a letter to the Stern community. “At a time when advanced-nation rhetoric and a seeming unwillingness to commit to the reforms needed for growth are at odds with global population trends and an increased need for investment in the developing world, I believe now is the time for me to make further contributions as an economist, advisor and Stern professor,” he continued.

The Jamaican-born Blair is an expert on the global economy, led the external economics advisory group for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and was later chosen to lead the Obama Transition Team’s review of international lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Obama appointed him in June 2009 to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Before joining Stern, Henry taught at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was also associate director of the Center for Global Business. He joined NYU Stern as its youngest ever dean in 2010.

His contributions as NYU Stern Dean in his eight years have been noteworthy. He arrived at a business school known for its expertise in finance and its proximity to Wall Street in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, which is to say, with his work cut out for him. “Over the past seven-plus years, together we doubled-down on existing strengths and achieved new heights in areas where we were lagging, notably fundraising,” he wrote to the Stern community.

Indeed, prior to Henry’s arrival, the school had yet to break the $40 million mark for fundraising in a given year, according to a letter sent out today from NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming. The school has raised more money under Henry’s leadership—more than $225 million—than under any prior dean, including more than $40 million in each of the last three fiscal years and an all-time high of $54.6 million in the most recent fiscal year.

NYU Stern Dean Peter Blair Henry

“Access to higher education for the most qualified students, regardless of their means, motivated Peter’s fundraising,” Hamilton and Fleming wrote. Of last year’s record funds raised, $45.7 million went toward scholarships. Before Henry arrived, Stern had no full scholarships for undergraduate students; today it boasts 37. Another thing that’s grown under Henry’s leadership is the number of Nobel Prize winners on the Stern faculty, tripling from the lone Nobelist it claimed when he arrived.

Record Fundraising Supports Multiple Firsts at Stern

The record fundraising efforts Henry led also helped to almost triple the number of experiential projects Stern students can take part in, propelled a first-of-its-kind FinTech MBA specialization, established the unique Urbanization Project directed by Stern Professor Paul Romer, and paved the way for new centers like the Center for Business and Human Rights and the Center for Sustainable Business, also both firsts for a leading business school. Henry has also worked to both widen and deepen the school’s relationships with tech companies, venture capital firms and fashion and luxury brands.

“These innovations have positioned the Stern School as a leader in research and student engagement in areas from digital currency to the global infrastructure challenge that hold the key to inclusive growth in the 21st century,” wrote Hamilton and Fleming.

“NYU is exceptionally proud of Peter’s accomplishments, his unwavering and unapologetic focus on business as a force for doing well and doing good, and his service not only to the Stern School but also to the university, as our partner in global education, an undisputed leader in fundraising, and a voice for our community as part of the NYU Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force,” they continued.

Henry, for his part, cites getting to know students as one of his biggest joys as dean. “From the classroom to the catwalk, in the hallways, office hours and on the basketball court, seeing students thrive at Stern and then watching them flourish after graduation has been, and will continue to be, a source of great inspiration.”

Henry will remain on as dean for the next 10 months as the school conducts an international search for his successor.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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