Monday, February 4, 2013

A Letter from President Stuart Rabinowitz

Each year, when sitting down to write this introductory letter for the annual report, the first thing I think is that "this has been an extraordinary year for Hofstra University." It is the first sentence of many of my letters. Some might think that as a university president, I simply possess a strong enthusiasm as an advocate for our institution, but that's not the whole story. Every year I am inspired to great enthusiasm, but each and every year, the sentiment is true. Every year at Hofstra University is extraordinary, because the Hofstra community shares a commitment to growth, change and innovation. I have the privilege of having a front row seat and witnessing, up close, our great history and evolution, and every year, there are great stories to tell and important initiatives to report. We all share our pride in Hofstra and its growth over the last 76 years, and I am struck by the impressive changes we see, the stories our alumni and students tell, the accomplishments of our faculty, and the commitment of our community to education, service and innovation.

The annual report begins as a compilation of achievements and accomplishments, the tallying of a year's worth of improvements, awards, publications, promotions, distinguished visitors, donations, and events. But as we go through the report, the individual stories unfold – whether it is how students of journalism had the opportunity to ask Woodward and Bernstein the tough questions in a Debate 2012: Pride, Politics & Policy program, or how Hofstra Law was named for one of its most dedicated alumni, Maurice A. Deane, who began his law studies after a long, distinguished and extremely successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. We hear countless stories of Hofstra students giving back to the community, such as those who raised money for cancer research by shaving their heads for St. Baldrick's Day or organized one of the largest college-based Relay For Life programs. We meet alumni who give back to their alma mater, and faculty, like Dennis Mazzocco, who are recognized for giving back to their industry.

The Hofstra community continues to look at how we can deliver excellent educational programs that meet the needs of our students and the global economy. The new School of Engineering and Applied Science, which is an expansion of the University's existing Engineering and Computer Science departments, welcomed its founding dean this summer – Simon Ben-Avi, who comes to Hofstra from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, one of the nation's top engineering schools. Dr. Ben-Avi had been the Acting Dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union since 2009.

Building on the success of our medical school, which just welcomed its second incoming class, the University is putting new emphasis on the health sciences and expanding degree programs, including a new Master of Public Health, with plans to soon establish a new School of Health Sciences and Human Services. This focus on health-related programs is part of the University's mission to stay ahead of emerging industry trends in all academic disciplines, thereby adding value to your education and your degree.

As we look to the future, the nation's best universities are being asked to play a role in economic development, to encourage entrepreneurs, to bring research to market, to help reinvent the American economy. I have been fortunate to serve, among other roles, as the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council's co-chair since June 2011. Our role, as defined by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appointed us, was to create a strategic plan that would create opportunity in the Long Island economy for long-range economic growth. In December 2011, after much work by the council, as well as assistance from many individuals at Hofstra, including Vice Presidents Richard Guardino and Melissa Connolly; Larry Levy, executive dean for the National Center of Suburban Studies at Hofstra University; Dr. Chris Neidt, academic director of the Center; and Dr. Robert Brinkmann, director of our new Sustainability Studies program, the Long Island plan was recognized by New York state as a winning strategic plan and received $100 million for its projects. During the same time period, Hofstra, along with our partners – North Shore-LIJ Health System's Feinstein Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratories and Computer Associates – formed Accelerate Long Island to encourage academic and research partnerships to benefit our entire region.
"We all share our pride in Hofstra and its growth over the last 76 years, and I am struck by the impressive changes we see, the stories our alumni and students tell, the accomplishments of our faculty, and the commitment of our community to education, service and innovation."
– Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz

On May 3, 2012, Hofstra University celebrated the 16th Annual Hofstra Gala. Florence and Robert Kaufman were honored for their leadership and generous support of Hofstra University over the years. (L to r) Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz, Nancy Rabinowitz, Florence and Robert Kaufman.

While Hofstra's interest and strength in the hard sciences and research continue to grow, we have a unique niche we bring to economic development. Hofstra is one of the few institutions in the New York metropolitan region to have schools of business, law, engineering and medicine, and so our great strength will be in providing assistance to entrepreneurs, creating business plans, working on the commercialization of ideas, and marketing innovation.

Our programs will be an excellent resource for researchers and entrepreneurs, while presenting a unique opportunity to our students, who will get rare entrepreneurial experience, exposure to the marketplace of ideas, and experience in the high-tech, bio-tech and scientific fields. Our nation's economic future depends on businesspeople, lawyers, and engineers who understand how to bring ideas to the market and create companies that will spur economic growth and innovation.

And, in the middle of all that happened this past year, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced once again that Hofstra University would host a presidential debate on October 16, 2012. Hofstra is one of only three universities that have hosted more than one presidential debate. The excitement and anticipation again resulted in planning a yearlong series of programs titled Debate 2012: Pride, Politics & Policy. So far Cory Booker, Woodward and Bernstein, Wolf Blitzer, the authors of Game Change, Republican advisor Steve Schmidt and Julian Bond have visited campus. The fall series of programs is equally impressive, with Christina Romer, Jeb Bush, Chris Matthews, Cornel West, Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. We invite you to join us for any of these programs. Registration information is available at

We are in the midst of the evolution of higher education. While the liberal arts and a classroom education remain vital, universities are being asked to play a central role in the economy, in their surrounding communities, to serve not only students but society in general. We must prepare young people for their place in this brave new world – whether through economic development, civic engagement, internships, or career-oriented academic programs. We must increasingly look to the world outside our ivy-covered walls and forge real-world partnerships that create opportunities for all.

The Hofstra community is uniquely suited to find solutions to the national and global challenges we face. We have always been a creative, innovative, persistent and successful group of scholars and alumni, students and community. Our character, dedication and vision will help us continue to grow during Hofstra's next 75 years. I am pleased to lead Hofstra University in our next phase of development, with your help and encouragement.

Stuart Rabinowitz


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