To: The NYU Abu Dhabi Community
From: Alfred Bloom, Vice Chancellor
With great sadness I share the news that Hilary Ballon, powerful champion of NYU Abu Dhabi, foundational contributor to its distinctive excellence, and warm and dedicated friend of this community, has passed away. Hilary envisioned an institution whose special character would emerge from its capacity to integrate a liberal arts college and a research university — each of uncompromising quality; from its identity as a pioneering campus of NYU, a leading university of Abu Dhabi, and a global center of innovative pedagogy and disciplinary and interdisciplinary creativity; and from its willingness to place both education and research unapologetically at the service of a more informed, productive, just, and peaceful world. Her steady contributions of inspiration, tireless effort, and phenomenal talent were essential to building the institution NYUAD has become.
Hilary helped shape the distinctive contours of our academic program, particularly the creation of J-Term, the Core, and the Affiliated Faculty programs and facilitated the recent development of our Arts Center and our Art Gallery, and their increasingly influential roles in reinforcing artistic activity across the broader Abu Dhabi and UAE communities. She was a masterful and transformative teacher.
Her remarkable architectural imagination contributed centrally to the attractiveness and warmth of our initial Downtown Campus and to the splendor and fit to our educational mission of our Saadiyat home.
She managed our presence at NYU New York, with humanity and care, connecting the NYUAD faculty and staff with those at NYU New York and across the global network; and over the years generously took on, at any moment, any task that needed to be done and completed it with precision and reliable wisdom.
Alongside and often interwoven with her commitment to NYUAD, Hilary constantly advanced her professional work in architectural history, through lectures, publications and exhibitions, which brought her continuing national and international recognition.
She was a treasured partner to me, personally, and to every one of us at NYUAD.
We will miss her deeply. We extend our profound sympathies to her husband, Orin, her daughter, Sophie, and her son, Charles.
For those wishing to honor Hilary, contributions can be made to the Hilary Ballon Scholarship Fund at New York University supporting first generation college students and community college transfers. Please call +1 (212) 998-6960 for further information.
In the fall the NYUAD community will gather on campus in remembrance of Hilary and appreciation of her extraordinary contributions to us.