Columbia Names Nemat Shafik as President, the First Girl to Lead the College

Columbia College’s new president might be Nemat Shafik, an economist who has served as president of the London College of Economics since 2017, and earlier than that as deputy governor of the Financial institution of England, the college introduced on Wednesday.

The collection of Dr. Shafik, referred to as Minouche, marks the primary time a lady has been named to steer the distinguished New York establishment. It follows the latest appointments of girls to move different prime universities, together with Harvard, Dartmouth, M.I.T., the College of Pennsylvania and George Washington College.

She is going to assume the Columbia presidency in July, succeeding Lee C. Bollinger, at a tumultuous time within the educational world. Universities face a pending Supreme Court docket determination on affirmative motion, in addition to debates over free speech and the excessive value of schooling, faculty rankings, pay for instructing assistants and different points.

In a letter to the Columbia group, the college’s board of trustees stated it had discovered a “good candidate” in Dr. Shafik, 60, a “sensible and in a position world chief, a group builder and a pre-eminent economist who understands the academy and the world past it.”

Her worldwide expertise is notable — and unusual for a college president in america. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Shafik has additionally served as a vice chairman on the World Financial institution and a deputy managing director of the Worldwide Financial Fund, in addition to her posts in London.

In its letter, the board stated that what set her candidacy aside was her “unshakable confidence within the important function establishments of upper schooling can and should play in fixing the world’s most complicated issues.”

The president she’s going to substitute, Mr. Bollinger, has led Columbia for 21 years, presiding over a big enlargement of the college with the creation of latest institutes and initiatives, together with the broadening of the college’s world presence, in addition to the addition of its Manhattanville campus, the house of its new enterprise faculty.

Her upbringing was partly in america, the place her household relocated within the Sixties after their dwelling and property in Egypt had been seized and nationalized by the federal government of President Gama Abdel Nasser, she has stated in interviews.

Dr. Shafik lived in Savannah, Ga., as a toddler and in Egypt as a teen, returning to america to earn an undergraduate diploma on the College of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her postgraduate research took her to Britain, the place she acquired a grasp’s diploma from the London College of Economics and Political Science in 1986, adopted by a Ph.D. in economics from St. Antony’s School, Oxford College, in 1989. Her educational profession has included appointments on the College of Pennsylvania’s Wharton College of Enterprise and Georgetown College. She is a director of the Gates Basis.

Her scholarship features a e book, “What We Owe Every Different,” by which she requires a brand new social order. Kirkus Critiques described the 2021 e book as an replace of “Rousseau-vian beliefs of responsibility, duty, and reciprocity.”

Dr. Shafik, who has described herself as “brown” when requested about her race, is married to Raffael Jovine, a biologist who focuses on algae. They’re the dad and mom of twins, together with three grownup youngsters from her husband’s earlier marriage. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II made her a baroness in 2020, and she or he is a member of the Home of Lords.

Mr. Bollinger, who introduced final yr that he could be leaving Columbia, led the College of Michigan when the Supreme Court docket determined Grutter v. Bollinger, upholding the suitable of faculties to interact in affirmative motion in admissions. The choice could also be overturned by the court docket in pending circumstances involving Harvard and the College of North Carolina.

In a latest interview with a number of reporters, Mr. Bollinger stated {that a} determination to overturn Grutter would drastically scale back the racial and ethnic variety of school courses.

“The upshot could be a tragic return to a world by which there was actually not racial integration as we’ve got strived as a rustic to realize,” he stated.

If the Supreme Court docket does overturn Grutter. Dr. Shafik, whom Columbia described as a “tireless proponent of variety and inclusion,” will face the problem of overhauling the college’s admissions processes.

She can even must cope with the fallout from the college’s manipulation of statistics that had been submitted to the faculty rating operation run by U.S. Information & World Report. The college’s standing within the influential rankings dropped to No. 18 from No. 2 this yr, following the disclosure by certainly one of its math professors, Michael Thaddeus, that the college’s knowledge appeared doubtful.