Hamilton bids new students farewell at final presidential welcome

At his final welcome address before he leaves his role, NYU president Andrew Hamilton greeted hundreds of incoming and returning students just before hosting the university’s biannual “Reality Show.”


Yezen Saadah

NYU president Andrew Hamilton addresses students at the university’s spring 2023 Presidential Welcome event, held at the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium. (Yezen Saadah for WSN)

Yezen Saadah, Deputy News Editor

NYU president Andrew Hamilton welcomed over 200 new and returning students to the university on Wednesday, Jan. 25 during his final Presidential Welcome speech, an annual event held at the beginning of each semester. During his address, he acknowledged his decision to step down from the role after the current spring semester, which was announced by the university last April.

“This is my last semester as the president of NYU. Someone new — I don’t know who that will be — but someone new will be taking my place,” Hamilton said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be welcoming you to the start of your academic career as I come to the end of my presidential career.”

The ceremony followed suit from the two presidential welcomes Hamilton held for the class of 2026 and transfer students in the first weeks of the fall 2022 semester. The fall ceremonies were hosted at Radio City Music Hall and the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, respectively, but Hamilton addressed this semester’s crowd in the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium at the Kimmel Center for University Life.

Hamilton did not give any updates on the ongoing search for his successor. The presidential search committee — a group of 26 faculty, staff, administrators, university trustees and students — began the search for a new president in June 2022. The committee hosted a series of listening sessions for NYU community members to give their opinions on what qualities they would value in a university president, but saw little engagement. At one listening session meant for students, only one was in attendance.

Hamilton was one of many university presidents to announce their resignation before the start of the fall 2022 semester. Many other universities — including Harvard University, Columbia University, Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — have announced presidential successors in recent weeks. 

Hamilton’s last day as NYU’s president will be June 30, 2023. The outgoing president previously served as provost at Yale University and vice chancellor at Oxford University. He plans to return to NYU as a chemistry professor in the College of Arts & Science for the fall 2023 semester.

As per tradition, this semester’s Presidential Welcome included a showing of the “Reality Show,” a musical sketch comedy written and performed by NYU students and alumni. The act features musical numbers about topics including mental health resources and how to best navigate life on campus. 

Hamilton concluded the event by offering advice to incoming first-year students. 

“Our motto is in Latin, in three simple words: ‘perstare et praestare,’” Hamilton said. “It means ‘to persevere and to excel.’ So always be as best as you can be. You all worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and I know you will continue to push yourselves to do your best.” 

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected]