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Chase F. Robinson was appointed President of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the principal doctorate-granting institution of the nation’s leading public, urban university, in June 2014. Dr. Robinson, a historian of the premodern Middle East, is also Distinguished Professor of History. He previously served as Interim President and Provost.
As President, Dr. Robinson is committed to deepening the Graduate Center’s commitment to advanced learning and education for the public good. Under his leadership, the Graduate Center is emerging as a national model in doctoral education, pedagogy, and interdisciplinarity, and has attracted record levels of philanthropic support.
From 2008 through June 2013, in his capacity as Provost and Senior Vice President of the Graduate Center, Dr. Robinson led the institution’s first comprehensive planning process, which culminated in the GC’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2016. He also worked with the Office of Institutional Advancement to secure major funding to enhance faculty support, helped establish the Graduate Center at the forefront of the digital evolution within higher education, expanded the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, and launched several initiatives, such as the Advanced Research Collaborative, the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, and the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context. During Dr. Robinson’s time as Provost, the Graduate Center made major investments in financial aid and hired more than two dozen scholar-teachers of national and international standing, including the Graduate Center’s first Nobel laureate.
Dr. Robinson received an A.B. (Honors) from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, Oxford, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he received a two-year British Academy Research Readership. As Chairman of the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies at Oxford, Dr. Robinson put in place the department’s first academic plan, broadened its scope in terms of development and external relations, and forged new relationships with international donors as well as academic institutions in the Middle East.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Robinson is the author or editor of eight books and more than 40 articles. He also serves on a number of editorial and review boards, and his reviews and commentaries have appeared in the New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education. Dr. Robinson’s newest book, Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives (University of California/Thames & Hudson), will be published in the fall of 2016.