Some of you may know that I will be stepping down from the deanship in a very few weeks. I have served as dean of Liberal Studies for 13 years, and during that time, we have seen the program grow in new and important ways.

The Liberal Studies offices moved to Broadway in 2004.

The major milestones are clearly visible: enrollment in the program has nearly doubled; we have added remarkable first-year away programs in London, Paris, and Washington, DC, joining our pioneering first-year program in Florence; and we created our four-year baccalaureate degree, Global Liberal Studies, among whose 2017 graduates are a Rhodes Scholar, a Gilman Fellow, a Princeton in Africa Fellow, and a Humanity in Action Fellow. No fewer than five LS alums have been named to Forbes “30 Under 30” lists in recent years. Our graduates are starting careers in fields as diverse as finance, global NGOs, media, and technology; they are embarking on graduate and professional study at leading U.S. and international universities.

Less immediately visible, but no less important, we have greatly improved our financial aid to students. Over the past decade we have raised more than $25,000,000 in gifts, virtually all to support scholarships. As the University prioritizes affordability, we are providing more scholarship aid for global study and for first-generation students.

Most important of all for me, I’ve been privileged to meet thousands of well-prepared, bright, and dynamic students, students from every part of the U.S. and across the globe. I have been fortunate to help provide our students with great opportunities to achieve their ambitious goals. I look forward now to continuing to work with our students in my new role as a full-time faculty member teaching in the Liberal Studies Core Program.

In serving this great program, I have been fortunate to work with and to get to know well many talented and dedicated staff and faculty colleagues. I take one final opportunity to thank them for all that they do to support our students.

Finally, I’m delighted to introduce the next dean of Liberal Studies, Professor Julie Mostov. Dean Mostov comes to us from Drexel University, where she served as Senior Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, and where she virtually single-handedly created Drexel’s international programs. The leadership of Liberal Studies is now in her capable hands.

As the year ends, I look back with pleasure on highlights of the last twelve months. A major highlight of this year for me has been the recognition of so many of our students for their outstanding academic and professional achievements. Several LS students and recent graduates received competitive scholarships and awards in 2015, illustrating the talents of our students and their commitment to seeking opportunities for growth.

Below is a selection of these honors:

NYU Leadership Fellowship: University-wide, year-long program that builds capacity in undergraduates for working ethically, inclusively, and collaboratively with others on a common purpose. The 2015-16 fellows number 23 in total, with three from LS:

Lousia Bahet (Core/CAS ’17)
Shiri Hanau (GLS ’18)
RJ Khalaf (GLS ’18)

Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this grant supports American students studying or interning abroad.

Abida Ali (GLS ’17) – Awarded scholarship for junior year in Madrid.

Rosalyn DeMesa (GLS ’17) – Awarded scholarship for junior year in Shanghai.

Critical Language Scholarship: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this award funds intensive overseas language and cultural immersion for American students studying underrepresented languages.

Ariela Garvett (GLS ’15) – Received award to study Arabic in Tunisia.

Costanza Maio (GLS ’15) – Received award to study Arabic in Jordan; also a 2014 recipient.

Fulbright Program: Sponsored by the U.S. government, this program provides grants for study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs in a host country outside the U.S.

Eli Freedman (GLS ’15) – Received Fulbright-Hays Program grant to study Chinese language at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China.

Nicholas Grassi (GLS ’12) – Former international trade consultant; received grant to study international business and diplomacy through Deloitte while earning MBA credits in Mexico.

Christina Jang (GLS ’13) – Former program manager; received grant to mentor Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in Brazil following completion of her own English Teaching Assistantship in the same community.

Soros Fellowship: Supports immigrants or the children of immigrants in their graduate study at any university in the U.S.

Eugene Rusyn (Core/CAS ’13) – Born in Kiev, in the former Soviet Union, and currently a JD candidate at Yale Law School; received fellowship to support work towards JD in law.

Join me in congratulating these deserving scholars! I wish you a restful winter break and a happy new year.