Vice Chancellor Al Bloom to Step Down in 2019

"We have together made educational history"

Message to the NYU Abu Dhabi community from Vice Chancellor Al Bloom

I am writing to share with you that I will step down from the position of Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi as of August 31, 2019. I feel it important to let you know now, so that the community has ample time to mount a comprehensive global search for the next Vice Chancellor and to offer him or her a comfortable time frame for transition here.

By August 2019 I will have had the extraordinary privilege of serving this institution as Vice Chancellor for eleven phenomenal years. Inspired by the combined vision of our parent university and of this nation, and empowered by their support, we have together made educational history. No one could have imagined a decade ago that we would create an institution that would not only become a pioneering campus of NYU’s global network but also a leading university of the UAE, and increasingly of this region and the world.

No one could have envisioned an institution whose research, scholarly and artistic activity would reach levels of productivity and recognition comparable to those of institutions of markedly greater size and age and which would attract among the finest students from around the world. No one could have predicted a decade ago that our selectivity and yield among those students would come to exceed those of the most renowned universities worldwide and that in Rhodes Scholarships per student we would lead the world.

No one could have foreseen that we would so beautifully join the finest qualities of the liberal arts to nurturing capacity to build common respect, responsibility, and purpose across the divides of a fractured world, offering a singularly powerful model of undergraduate education for a global century.

The continued support by our Abu Dhabi partner, Tamkeen, for this university's trajectory of singular excellence, combined with our community’s resolve and capacity to maintain and grow that excellence, confirm my confidence that we have built the foundation for an all the more exceptional future. I thank you each for your invaluable, individual contributions to this historic educational accomplishment and for the joy and wonderful colleagueship you have brought to Peggi and me during these years. Over the eighteen months ahead I look forward to continuing together to advance the distinctiveness, strength, and global impact of our collective achievement.

NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Al Bloom speaks at the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program.

Message from NYU 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.

More Articles

Building Leaders at NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi is marrying liberal arts with academic research to develop students capable of connecting a changing world, under the watchful guidance of its Vice Chancellor, Al Bloom.
Forbes Middle East | March 21, 2017

Forging Global Citizens is Electrifying
Is it possible to offer a truly international education experience in the Western world? Not according to Alfred Bloom, the vice-chancellor of New York University’s outpost in Abu Dhabi since 2009.
Times Higher Education | April 23, 2015