NEW YORK, November 7, 2012 – The Board of Trustees at The New School has announced that Joseph R. Gromek has been unanimously elected to serve as Board Chair, effective immediately.
Gromek is an influential leader in the global apparel industry, responsible for a complete turnaround at Warnaco Group, Inc., which he served as President and CEO from 2003 until February 2012. Taking over as the company emerged from Chapter 11, Gromek spearheaded Warnaco’s international expansion, transforming it from a domestic apparel wholesaler into one of the world’s foremost retailers.
Gromek became a Trustee at The New School in 2011, but began playing a leadership role in 2005 when he was elected to the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design. Working with Parsons’ dean and faculty, Gromek leveraged connections in the fashion industry to connect graduates to professional opportunities and to increase support of The New School’s design-led curriculum.
“The New School occupies a singular place in today’s higher education landscape,” Gromek said. “As a university with expertise in two distinct, but critically related fields—design and the social sciences—The New School can educate a generation of creative and civic leaders to meet the challenges of a new economy.”
Gromek takes the helm of The New School Board during a transformative time for the 94-year-old university. David Van Zandt, who became its eighth president in 2011, has expressed a vision for the future that optimizes historic strengths in design and social sciences. The university is launching new degree programs and interdisciplinary study options designed to equip graduates for globalization, urbanization, and technological innovation.
“Joe’s election as chair comes at an opportune moment because he values the innovative characteristics of The New School,” Van Zandt said. “Joe understands the non-traditional role we have played in the past and the clarity of vision required to advance in the future. Our students and faculty creatively address critical global issues, guided by a persistent commitment to social justice and changing the status quo. This is a fundamental New School value and I am confident Joe will lead the Board to sustain and support it.”
Among the new programs recently launched at The New School is an MFA in Transdisciplinary Design, which serves as a laboratory to empower designers to face the challenges of a global society. Among its first graduating class, one team of students won an Innovation and Design Award from Fast Company for their thesis project, “Softwalks,” which refigures urban construction scaffolding into a community asset, and improves life in the city in the process.
In becoming Board Chair, Gromek succeeds Michael J. Johnston, who was elected chair in 2009. Johnston presided over the search for President Van Zandt and the Board’s approval of the University Center, the largest construction project in New School history in the heart of downtown Manhattan. When the University Center opens in Fall 2013, it will become the anchor structure for the 10,000-student university.
“As higher education continues to evolve, The New School faces tremendous opportunities,” Gromek said. “After more than a quarter century in retail, I have insight into the demanding fields many New School students wish to enter. I see my role helping prepare graduates withstand an unsteady economy with the talent and mastery needed to succeed.”
About The New School
The New School, a leading progressive university in New York City was founded in 1919 as a center of intellectual and artistic freedom. Today The New School is still in the vanguard of innovation and experimentation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management and public policy, the arts, and media, and in hundreds of continuing education courses. Committed to public engagement, The New School welcomes thousands of New Yorkers yearly to its celebrated public programs and maintains a global presence through its online learning programs, research institutes, and international partnerships. Learn more at www.newschool.edu.
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