In a campus-wide email sent earlier today, President Daniel H. Weiss announced that he will be leaving Haverford College in July to become the next president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Weiss became the College’s 14th president in July 2013, after serving as the president of Lafayette College from 2005 to 2013. He succeeded Interim President Joanne V. Creighton, who was appointed after former President Stephen G. Emerson’s departure in 2011. Weiss’ two year stay in the position is the shortest in school history.
During Weiss’ presidential tenure, Haverford embarked on The Plan for Haverford 2020, which includes plans for significant renovations to Magill Library and the Center for Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM), which will replace Ryan Gym. The College also saw the modification of the no loan financial aid policy in February 2014, reintroducing loans for students with a family income above $60,000 a year.
Weiss, who described himself as “an art historian with a lifelong interest in museums” in the email, completed a Ph.D. in art art history at John Hopkins University in 1992, where he served as the chair of the art history department from 1998 to 2001. In addition, Weiss earned an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management in 1985 after graduating from The George Washington University in 1979, where he double majored in art history and psychology. While at Haverford, Weiss taught an art history course on the Middle Ages in Spring 2015.
In an article published by The New York Times, Weiss said that the job offer “really came out of the blue,” and that he did not intend to leave Haverford so soon after beginning his presidency. Though he expressed those sentiments in his email to the Haverford community, Weiss wrote that he is “drawn to the singular opportunity to play a leadership role at the Met,” and that he is leaving academia.
Board of Managers Chair Howard W. Lutnick sent an email to the Haverford community just six minutes after Weiss’ announcement.
“There is much for us to do this spring in continuing our ambitious agenda for Haverford,” Lutnick wrote. “Dan will lead the College until his departure this summer with all of our strong support as the Board of Managers engages in a process regarding next step.”
1) A Haverford (or Bryn Mawr) grad would not have left so soon, especially since the College waited a year for him to start. A place where students come for four years to learn to think is more important than a place where people come for the day to look at Rubens, status notwithstanding. I love th Met too but we need someone who will stay 10 years and pass up better job offers because they know how unique Haverford is. We obviously can’t have a series of 2 year Presidencies,
2) Weiss did not get enough support from the Community and perhaps the Board after the graduation ceremony fiasco. I would not be surprised if this was a factor in his leaving. If so it is highly unfortunate to lose a person of this caliber and ability due to an Occupy-related misguided community hissy fit.
3) We need more input from alumni in the selection process. I have met half a dozen grads who are managing larger institutions who could likely perpetuate the legacy, double the endowment, strengthen the Sciences and engage the community effectively. The applicant pool needs to expand beyond the Presidents of other colleges.
I feel like you’re dismissing that this is a dream job for Dan Weiss. He got offered one of the most prestigious job in his field, and I don’t think it’s fair for us to expect him to pass that up (no matter how “unique” our community is).
With regard to the points you made:
1) Are you suggesting we only hire graduates from the trico? Because I feel like that would only perpetuate the current Haver-Bubble problems. We should, as a student body, be open to people with different experiences and different ideas about community. Haverford is absolutely unique, but it’s not perfect and I don’t see why we should focus on hiring alumni.
2) I don’t think it was a fiasco, and I think it’s assuming a bit much to say that Dan Weiss left because of our “Occupy-related misguided community hissy fit.” The community, or at least a significant part of the community, made its voice heard about that issue. I don’t think Dan Weiss is holding that against the community and taking it as a reason to leave.
3) Generally I agree that we could expand the applicant pool, but I’m not entirely sure what your larger point is. It also seems to directly contradict the first point you made. As a sort of a side point, I also don’t understand why you just want to strengthen “the Sciences” (capital S?). Shouldn’t we, as a liberal arts college, be trying to strengthen our academics in general? We are the only top 10 liberal arts college with NO film and media/cinema studies department. I know that there are science departments that need funding as well, but I don’t like the idea that we should be looking for a president that is going to focus solely on the sciences.
I think his point is that the pool of alumni is larger than the pool of other college presidents. Good point about expanding all of the Haverford and striving for such excellence and very academic wow across the board. I do want to say there is a problem with Weiss leaving so soon, but I can’t figure out where to place the blame. I agree that it’s reasonable to leave for your dream job. But if we can’t blame Weiss, who do we blame? That’s really a way of asking, how do we prevent this in the future? Do we hire an alum? Do we incorporate a time period into the contract? Or did we already do all of the right things, and just get really unlucky?
Exactly, we need a candidate for whom this IS their dream job. Previous Presidents had job offers they turned down because Haverford was not just a stepping stone to them. Dr Weiss is outstanding and the Met is a critical institution in the art world, but a two year tenure is a set back for the College and its goals. The President has to convey to potential donors and faculty as well as the public that we have a plan to endow and perpetuate the values that make Haverford what it is. How can she do so if she stays only until 2 yrs until the next job offer?