More than half of NYU students likely don’t know who Andrew Hamilton is, WSN survey finds

As university president Andrew Hamilton prepares for the end of his tenure, he remains an unknown presence to most students on campus.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Who is Andy Hamilton and why should you care? (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Jenny Seo and John Kim

Andrew who? More than half of the NYU student body seemingly has no idea who university president Andrew Hamilton is, according to a survey conducted by WSN. Hamilton, who will soon be succeeded by longtime administrator Linda Mills, will end his eight-year tenure on June 30.

Out of 100 students informally surveyed outside of Bobst Library and in Washington Square Park, only 41% were certain of Hamilton’s name, while 59% said they were not sure. Many students cited the annual Presidential Welcome, an NYU tradition meant to greet new and returning students, as the first and last time they saw Hamilton, the lame-duck president. 

Vanessa Viglucci, a CAS junior, was unaware that Hamilton planned to resign after the spring semester.

“Is he resigning because he did something bad?” Viglucci said. “That’s cool — the stuff that he was doing — but I guess it’s not super important. Kids are still going to come here, but it would be nice to know more.”

Viglucci was oblivious to the fact that Hamilton will remain at the College of Arts & Science as a chemistry professor after taking a sabbatical. During his time as president, NYU accepted its most diverse first-year class, and philanthropic support to the university increased. The university’s acceptance rate also dropped from 35% to 8% since the start of his presidency in 2016.

Sophomore Brandon Lopez said that he didn’t see Hamilton at the Presidential Welcome because he studied away in Florence during his first year. He said that he only knows of Hamilton because of the universitywide emails he sends throughout the year. 

“I think that Mills could be more hands-on with the current student body at NYU, unlike Hamilton, whose main accomplishments center around admissions and prospective first-year students,” Lopez said. “This would hopefully give her more presence and, at the same time, create a stronger community for the students actually on campus.”

Junior Shuyao Jiang said Mills should reach out to the study body directly to better familiarize herself with the campus community.

“I saw that Mills had many shifts in her career, throughout multiple industries,” Jiang said. “Instead of a mass email sent to everyone’s spam inbox, a personal statement about herself in a casual format may draw more attention and encourage students to get to know her better.”

Contact Jenny Seo and John Kim at [email protected].