Dr. Donna E. Shalala, Interim President of The New School

New York, August 10, 2023—The New School Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Dr. Donna E. Shalala as Interim President of the university. A nationally recognized leader in higher education and government, Dr. Shalala will begin her position on August 15th. 

With approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 100 degree and diploma programs, The New School is the only university with world-renowned, comprehensive design, social sciences, humanities, and performing arts colleges. The university will commence a global search for a permanent president in the early fall. 

Dr. Shalala brings decades of distinguished higher education leadership experience to The New School. Under her stewardship as the President of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015, the institution became one of the leading research universities in the country. She has also served as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and President of Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She has been a tenured member of the faculty of the University of Miami, Columbia University, CUNY, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Shalala to The New School,” said Linda E. Rappaport, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Shalala is an academic visionary and trailblazer for women in leadership. Her wide-ranging accomplishments embody The New School’s highest values of bold exploration, free inquiry, and creative and innovative spirit. I know I speak for the Board of Trustees in saying how pleased we are to have Dr. Shalala join us.”

“I am honored by this opportunity to serve as the Interim President of this extraordinary institution,” said Dr. Shalala. “The New School has a unique and distinguished role in American higher education, developing students who will have an impact on the world and boldly address the most pressing social issues of our time. I am excited to join the university and look forward to what we will accomplish together.”

Dr. Shalala is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award; the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights; a National Public Service Award; and numerous honorary degrees. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, and was named one of the “top five managers in higher education” by BusinessWeek, one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, and “one of the greatest public servants of the past 25 years” by the Council on Excellence in Government. Dr. Shalala has been elected to seven national academies: the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Her leadership in U.S. government began as one of the country’s first Peace Corps Volunteers. For eight years she served in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services, following which a Washington Post article described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.” Most recently, she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

Dr. Shalala was also the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Carter Administration. In the 1970’s, Dr. Shalala was an original board member of the Municipal Assistance Corporation (BIG MAC), which saved New York City from bankruptcy. 

Dr. Shalala received her undergraduate degree from Western College for Women and a Ph.D. from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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Media Contacts:

The New School
Amy Malsin
[email protected]


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