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New School Office of the Provost commencement remarks, fact books and fact sheets collection

Identifier: NS-01-03-03

Descriptive Status

No publicly accessible container list or inventory is available at this time. Please contact The New School Archives if you are interested in consulting this collection.


Includes small selection of files documenting the remarks of speakers at The New School Commencement ceremonies between 2006-2016 subsequently posted on The New School website; New School Fact Books, circa 1983-2009; and fact sheets, 2010-2014.


  • 1983-2016



1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

3.1 Megabytes (49 PDF files)

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Historical Note

The Office of the Provost was first added to the administration of The New School in 1985 by President Jonathan Fanton. The office was added amid an expansion of administrative roles at the university and shifted managerial oversight of deans from the president to the provost. Under the previous president, John Everett, the number of deans had increased substantially, alongside the rapid expansion of the university and its divisions in the 1970s. The creation of the office of Provost also spelled an end to Everett’s policy of divisional autonomy, making the deans of each division more accountable to central administration.

Joseph Porrino was appointed first acting provost by President Fanton in 1985 and served until the following year, when Judith B. Walzer was named the first official provost of the university. Walzer served until her resignation in 1997, when she was replaced by Elizabeth Dickey. During the early years of the office, the responsibilities of the Provost were frequently redefined by the administration. The office itself was also significantly smaller and less powerful when compared with later periods.

During Bob Kerrey’s presidency, from 2000 until 2011, there was exceptionally high turnover in the Office of the Provost, with five individuals holding the position. After Dickey’s departure in 2002, Jackson Kytle, then deputy provost, was named interim provost. In 2004, Kerrey appointed the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai as provost. Appadurai was followed by Benjamin Lee in 2006, who resigned in 2008 over disagreements with Kerrey. Joseph W. Westphal came next, but resigned after three months to join the United States Presidential transition team of Barack Obama. After Westphal’s resignation, Bob Kerrey appointed himself Provost in a move that led New School faculty to deliver an informal vote of no confidence to the Board of Trustees. Kerrey reversed this decision and in 2009 Tim Marshall, then dean of Parsons, was made Provost.

The powers of the Office expanded considerably under university President David Van Zandt, who succeeded Kerrey in 2011. After Tim Marshall’s departure in 2020 to become deputy vice-chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Stephanie Browner was made interim provost. In 2021, Renée T. White, formerly provost of Wheaton College, was appointed provost.


amNY. “Noted scholar Appadurai named provost at New School University.” The Villager, September 30, 2006.

Audio Interview with Elizabeth Ross by Carmen Hendershott, March 10, 2015, The New School Oral History Program, NS.07.01.01, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

Course Catalogs, 1985-1986, New School Course Catalog Collection. The New School Archives Digital Collections, New York, New York.

Foderado, Lisa W. “New School Faculty and President Still at Odds,” New York Times, February 10, 2009.

Senior, Jennifer. “Bob Kerrey’s Ivory Tower War.” New York Magazine, February 20, 2009.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series 1. downloaded by New School Archives staff in 2018. Series 2. compiled by New School Archives staff from multiple accessions, the majority originating in transfers from the Schools of Public Engagement Dean's Office under the direction of Thelma Armstrong, the university's Office of the Secretary under Kathryn Bailey, and from librarian Carmen Hendershott.

Related Materials

Additional documentation from New School commencement ceremonies will be found in New School commencement, convocation and inauguration print materials collection (NS.05.05.01). Audiovisual recordings of commencement ceremonies from the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 will be found in New School commencement event recordings (NS.07.02.09). Some commencement remarks, as well as earlier remarks, will be found in New School Office of the President Laserfiche files (NS.01.01.06), Series 2. Commencement speeches, 1985-2011.

This collection is related to another collection compiled by New School Archives staff consisting of printed annual reports covering the years 1983-2009. Although the annual reports also contain numerical data about the university and cover the same span of time, they differ in that the university's Board of Trustees in conjunction with the Office of the President issued them, rather than the Office of the Provost.

Processing Information

Archives staff cataloging the commencement remarks observed that a file titled, "2006-john-mccain.pdf," was an erroneous duplication of honorary speaker Frank Rich's remarks from 2011. Senator John McCain's 2006 commencement speech is thus absent from the series. Researchers can, however, find a transcript of McCain's remarks in the New School Office of the President Laserfiche files (NS.01.01.06). McCain's invitation to speak at the university's graduation ceremony was controversial. It is covered in The New School Free Press, a student newspaper.

Guide to the New School Office of the Provost collection of fact books/sheets and commencement remarks
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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