Press Release: CUNY Trustees Appoint Dr. William P. Kelly President of Graduate School and University Center

The Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. William P. Kelly, a distinguished American literature scholar and an expert on the works of James Fenimore Cooper, as President of The City University Graduate School and University Center, the Ph.D.-granting institution of CUNY. Dr. Kelly has been Provost and Senior Vice President at The Graduate Center since 1998 and a University educator for almost three decades.

His nomination was recommended to the Board by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein following a national search.

"Dr. Kelly will provide inspired leadership that will enhance and strengthen The Graduate Center as a major part of the ongoing renewal of our University," said Board of Trustees Chairman Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.

Chancellor Goldstein stated, "Dr. Kelly's distinguished and extensive record of academic and administrative leadership as Provost and Senior Vice President of The Graduate Center, as well as at Queens College, make him well prepared to guide the institution to even higher levels of accomplishment and reputation in the future."

The Graduate School and University Center, known as The Graduate Center, was established in 1961 as the Ph.D.-granting institution of CUNY. The Graduate Center offers 32 doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. In addition, the school has six master's programs, administers a multi-campus CUNY Baccalaureate as well as the recently established School of Professional Studies, houses 28 research centers, and presents a wide range of continuing education courses and public programs in its state-of-the-art facilities.

Dr. Kelly succeeds Dr. Frances Degen Horowitz, who has retired after leading The Graduate Center since 1991.

A distinguished scholar who is an expert on James Fenimore Cooper, Dr. Kelly's books include Plotting America's Past: Fenimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking Tales and a work in progress, Exhibiting Nature: Scientific Culture and The American Museum of Natural History.

His numerous articles and reviews have appeared in a broad range of publications including The New York Times Book Review and The American Scholar. He is the editor of the Random House edition of The Selected Works of Washington Irving and the Oxford University Press edition of The Pathfinder.

Dr. Kelly served on the faculty of Queens College from 1976 to 1998. He was appointed to the CUNY English doctoral faculty in 1986 and served as Executive Officer of The Graduate Center's Ph.D. Program in English from 1996 to 1998.

As Provost and Senior Vice President of The Graduate Center since 1998, Dr. Kelly served as its chief academic officer, responsible for overseeing all budgetary and administrative operations. This included insuring academic quality and determining institutional priorities and budgetary allocations.

During Dr. Kelly's tenure as Provost, enrollment at The Graduate Center increased by 20 percent, the core faculty expanded from 106 to 128, grants and contracts revenue doubled, student support more than tripled, and 49 new faculty members were appointed, including 23 at the rank of University Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Kelly's administrative posts and responsibilities at The Graduate Center have included Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in English (1996-98), Coordinator of the American Studies Program, and membership on the Doctoral Faculty Policy Committee, the Budget Advisory Committee, and the Executive Committee of the Council of Executive Officers. In addition, he has taught a wide range of American Literature and American Studies courses in his fifteen years on the CUNY doctoral faculty, sponsored dozens of independent studies, and directed twenty dissertations.

Dr. Kelly graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1971, where he won the David Bowers Prize in American Studies. He was named Outstanding Graduate Student in English at Indiana University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1976. Dr. Kelly also holds a diploma in Intellectual History from Cambridge University and received a Fulbright Fellowship to France. He has served as Executive Director of the CUNY/Paris Exchange Program and, in 2003, he was named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Education in recognition of his contributions to Franco-American educational and cultural relations.

At Queens College, Dr. Kelly was Chairman of the Presidential Budget Advisory Committee, Director of the Honors Program in the Western Tradition, Chairman of the American Studies Program, Co-Chair of the FIPSE Seminar on Multicultural Instruction, a member of the Mellon Minority Fellowship Selection Committee, and Director of the Summer Session. He was named Queens College's Golden Key Honor Society Teacher of the Year, and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris.

The Board of Trustees praised Dr. Horowitz "for her exemplary dedication and service." The Board noted that under her distinguished leadership The Graduate Center moved to a new campus in a redesigned landmark building; successfully conducted a $30 million capital campaign that exceeded that goal by almost $3 million; and established initiatives to recruit and retain doctoral students from underserved minorities. In addition, "the doctoral faculty was replenished and augmented by some of the world's most prominent academics and public intellectuals, adding to the school's already renowned roster of scholars, insuring The Graduate Center's reputation for many years to come."

A nationally unique consortium, The Graduate Center draws on CUNY-wide resources to conduct its doctoral programs. Reflecting the success of this consortial approach, more than one-third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs achieved a top 20 ranking for scholarly reputation in the latest National Research Council survey.

The Graduate Center's mission is to prepare students to become scholars, experts, and leaders in the academy and the private, nonprofit, and governmental sectors; to enhance access to doctoral education for traditionally underrepresented groups; to undertake cutting-edge research in all its doctoral fields; and to advance the educational, economic, and cultural interests of the complex urban community it serves.

The doctoral faculty has 1600 members based across the 19 CUNY campuses, including approximately 120 faculty appointed at The Graduate Center. Faculty members regularly receive prestigious honors and awards. Student enrollment exceeds 4,000 (3,856 doctoral and 175 master's).

With its move to its landmark campus on Fifth Avenue (the former B. Altman Department store), its first capital campaign close to completion, and the continuation of an extraordinary faculty recruitment drive, The Graduate Center is poised to enter a new era of distinction, building on its established scholarly reputation, the unparalleled resources of New York City, and the school's unique environment as a doctoral studies institution.

The City University of New York, the nation's largest urban public university, includes 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, a graduate school, a law school and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. It serves more than 450,000 degree-credit students and adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University's academic enrichment program for high school students, enrolls 40,500 students at CUNY campuses and at more than 200 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York.

Submitted on: JUN 27, 2005

Category: Press Room