Andrew Hamilton, Oxford University’s current Vice-Chancellor, will leave in December in order to take the Presidency of New York University.
Hamilton has been in his job since 2009, making him the second longest serving Vice-Chancellor of the modern era. Whilst the University has already announced that Professor Hamilton will leave, it previously stated that he will complete his seven-year term of office, which does not finish until September 2016. His successor is set to be announced by early June 2015.
“I am delighted to be selected as NYU’s 16th president,” Hamilton said in a statement. “I have been a keen observer of NYU, it’s accomplishments, its trajectory, and its renowned president, John Sexton, for some time.” Hamilton was unanimously selected from a pool of over 200 nominees by a Search Committee of NYU trustees, faculty, students, and administrators.
The former Chemistry professor said he was “delighted to have been part of a very exciting, dynamic and successful time in Oxford’s long and illustrious history,” and described New York University as a “game-changer in a field in which that is uncommon”.
Noting Hamilton’s previous post as provost of Yale University, John Sexton told The OxStu: “Over the years, I have watched Andrew Hamilton as he brought his formidable talents to great universities like Yale and Oxford and then used those talents to preserve their greatness and to build upon it.”
Hamilton has faced substantial student criticism in recent years for his University salary, which stood at £339,000 in January 2015 (£442,000 including benefits and pension) – the third-highest of any Vice-Chancellor in the country. Activist student groups like Oxford Defend Education have previously condemned Hamilton’s salary as excessively high, noting that he earns more money in two weeks than the University’s lowest-paid full-time employee earns in an entire year.
The University has repeatedly defended Hamilton’s pay on account of Oxford’s “great institutional complexity” and “vast” research output, arguing that the University “must remain globally competitive and its Vice-Chancellor’s remuneration needs to reflect that.”
At NYU, John Sexton ranks amongst the highest-paid presidents in academia, with a total annual salary of $1.5 million. He is scheduled to receive a $2.5 million “length of service” bonus in 2015. Even in retirement, Sexton will receive $800,000 annually—an amount much greater than Hamilton’s current salary as vice-chancellor.
During his tenure, Sexton has more than doubled NYU’s endowment and financial aid budget. However, with its endowment of $3.5 billion, relatively small compared to its rivals, NYU has also faced criticism for leaving students with enormous debts.