NYU appoints Linda Mills, a longtime administrator, as next president

Linda Mills, a university administrator overseeing student life and global programs, will succeed Andrew Hamilton as NYU’s next president.


Kevin Wu

Linda Mills meets with NYU administrators on Feb. 15, the day the university announced that she had been chosen as its next president. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

Bruna Horvath and Adrianna Nehme

After a monthslong search, NYU’s board of trustees announced that Linda Mills, vice chancellor and senior vice provost for global programs and university life, will be NYU’s 17th president. Mills will be the first woman to ever serve in the role.

The university’s board of trustees chose her unanimously after the Presidential Search Committee — a group of 26 administrators, faculty, trustees and the student government chair — considered over 100 candidates for the role. Mills will formally begin her position on July 1. 

“We couldn’t be more pleased by the selection of Linda Mills as president,” said William Berkley, the chair of the board of trustees. “Linda has been deeply involved in many of NYU’s most important undertakings over the past decade. She brings a data-driven approach to analysis and decision-making, yet never loses sight of the very human elements at the heart of a university — the passion of scholars for their field, the interaction between faculty member and student, the ambitions and welfare of students in and out of the classroom, and the trust that students’ families place in us.”

Mills took on her current role overseeing NYU’s campuses abroad in 2012. She became vice provost in 2002, and senior vice provost in 2006. She also worked as a chaired professor at the Silver School of Social Work, where she specialized in social work, law and public policy. Mills also works as the executive director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery and the co-founder of the university’s Production Lab, and has also served as an attorney and filmmaker.

In 1994, she received a Ph.D. in health policy from Brandeis University, and earned a masters of social work from San Francisco State University in 1986. Mills graduated from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco in 1983 and from the University of California, Irvine in 1979. She is both a member of the California Bar and a licensed social worker.

Mills, alongside Marc Wais, who was at the time senior vice president for student affairs, wrote an op-ed in WSN in 2005 in response to student criticism of restrictions to balcony access on campus, which was intended to be a suicide prevention measure. At the time, balcony access at Carlyle Court and Coral Tower had been restricted and the barriers around the balconies at Bobst Library had recently been installed. The decision to implement the restrictions came after a number of suicides on campus between 2003 and 2005.

Outgoing president Andrew Hamilton announced in April 2022 that he would step down from the presidency, following dozens of other university presidents across the country that resigned after the height of COVID-19. Hamilton served as president of the university for eight years. 

During his time as president, Hamilton navigated NYU through the pandemic. Although the university faced financial difficulties due to COVID-19, philanthropic support to NYU increased from prior years. The university has also become much more. selective —  at the start of Hamilton’s tenure, it stood at about 35%. Today, it is 12.2%. The number of students applying, which was around 63,000 when he first arrived in 2016, has increased to almost 120,000.

Hamilton said he was thrilled by the decision to appoint Mills as the university’s next president.

“Throughout my time as president, she has been deeply involved in the University’s strategic decision-making, bringing to our deliberations not just savvy but also a keen and passionate understanding of our students’ welfare and experience and of the human factors that make a university education so much more than a simple transfer of knowledge,” Hamilton said. “I congratulate her, and couldn’t be happier for her and NYU.”

In an email sent out to the NYU community, Berkley and Evan Chesler, who will replace Berkley as chair of the board of trustees and co-chair of the presidential search committee, said that Mills was chosen as the next president due to her commitment to the university and inside knowledge of NYU.

“I am humbled, I am honored, I am excited,” Mills said in a video published on the morning of the announcement. “I am filled with a sense of hope and potential and possibility.”