Van Zandt Installed as President
Eight months into his tenure, David E. Van Zandt was installed as the eighth president of The New School on September 15 before a crowd of university dignitaries, faculty and staff at Tishman Auditorium.
Van Zandt, who took over for Bob Kerrey in January, received The New School’s original charter from Michael J. Johnston, the chairman of the board of trustees, and Provost Tim Marshall. The ceremony featured several insights into Van Zandt’s interpretation of the university’s legacy, as well as his vision for its future.
“The New School has always been mercurial, flexible, entrepreneurial and willing to try to new things,” Van Zandt said in his inaugural address. “The ‘new’ in our name does not refer to our youthfulness, but to the fact that we are always trying to push the envelope.”
The New School presented four professors with the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award during the program, which are given every year to faculty members nominated by their students and colleagues. The recipients of the award this year were Parsons professor Bill Gaskins, Shannon Mattern of The New School for Public Engagement, Miriam Ticktin of The New School for Social Research, and Gary Vena of The New School for Drama.
The installation featured comments from Johnston, Marshall, Professor Susan Yelavich of the faculty senate, and Milano student Melissa Holmes of the student senate, as well as the President Emeritus of Northwestern University, Henry Bienen. While president of Northwestern, appointed Van Zandt as dean of the university’s School of Law — the position he left to take over at The New School.
Van Zandt said it would be up to The New School community as a whole to ensure that the university maintained a commitment to its principles.
“The New School’s approach is framed by our history,” Van Zandt added. “We must be dedicated to the ‘new.’ I’ve tried to lay out a general direction, but now it’s up to us all.”