The Board of Trustees has announced that William P. Kelly, President of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will serve as Interim Chancellor of the University starting July 1, following Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s announcement that he would step down after nearly 14 years in the post.
Dr. Kelly, a distinguished scholar of American literature, vice chairman of the CUNY Research Foundation and trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, was unanimously appointed to the interim position at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. He has served as a University educator for nearly four decades. “Dr. Kelly brings an extensive scholarly record, superb administrative experience, and a deep commitment to the University’s educational mission to the position of interim Chancellor,” said Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt. “He will provide continuity of purpose and policy during this important transition period.”
Dr. Kelly has led the Graduate Center, CUNY’s doctorate-granting institution, since June 2005. Prior to his appointment he served for seven years as the Graduate Center’s provost and senior vice president, a period marked by the recruitment of internationally renowned scholars to the graduate school’s faculty. Recently, he chaired a key component of the University’s Pathways to Degree Completion reform of general education and transfer policies, leading faculty committees that selected pathway courses for CUNY’s largest transfer majors.
An expert on the works of James Fenimore Cooper, Dr. Kelly is the author of Plotting America’s Past: Fenimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking Tales. His essays and reviews have appeared in publications including the Times Literary Supplement, 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. He is currently at work on a book about John Jacob Astor.
He 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 in 1980 received a Fulbright Fellowship to France, where he subsequently became visiting professor at the University of Paris.
He was executive director of the CUNY/Paris Exchange Program and in 2003 was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education, in recognition of his contributions to Franco-American educational and cultural relations.
On the faculty of CUNY’s Queens College from 1976 to 1998, he was named Queens College’s Golden Key Honor Society Teacher of the Year in 1994. He was appointed concurrently to the faculty of the Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in English in 1986 and served as the program’s executive officer from 1996 to 1998.
There will be a national search for a permanent chancellor conducted by the Board of Trustees.