Yale Deputy Provost for Science and Technology Andrew Hamilton will become the new provost of the University, Yale President Richard Levin announced at a 4 p.m. ceremony today at Luce Hall.
Hamilton, a former chairman of the Chemistry Department, will replace current University Provost Susan Hockfield when she leaves later this semester to become president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hockfield, who announced her departure from Yale in August, has served as provost since January 2003. As provost, Hamilton will be Yale’s chief academic and financial officer and the University’s second-highest-ranking official.
“I am deeply honored to be invited to be provost,” Hamilton said at the ceremony attended by about 100 members of the Yale community. “I am a little bit in awe of the people who have come before me.”
Hamilton will replace Hockfield effective Oct. 18. With the departure of Hockfield, the University loses its top-ranked female administrator. Levin said his one regret in appointing Hamilton is that he did not select a woman.
“In the end I felt that Hamilton was right for the position,” Levin said.
Hamilton said he is committed to diversifying the University faculty.
“The number of women and minorities needs to be increased,” Hamilton said, noting the difficulty of the task. “We need to work harder to increase the diversity of faculty, particularly in the sciences.”
Levin said he chose Hamilton because of his experience in both academic and administrative roles. During the provost search process, which began fewer than six weeks ago, Levin said he received letters from “virtually all” of the science department chairs in praise of Hamilton. At the ceremony, Levin called Hamilton “articulate, keen and incisive.”
“I think he’s well prepared to take on this responsibility,” Levin said. “I think he’s won universal acclaim for seeing the heart of a problem and moving expeditiously to get it done.”
Levin said he thinks Hamilton will be especially effective as provost because his work has acquainted him with many facets of the University beyond the Chemistry Department.
“It is important to have someone to carry out the administration’s agenda to strengthen the sciences at Yale,” Levin said.
Hamilton is the fourth major Yale administrator to be named in the last year. In December 2003, Levin tapped John Pepper to become vice president of finance and administration. In the spring, Levin appointed then-Graduate School Dean Peter Salovey to become dean of Yale College, and replaced him with former History Department chairman Jon Butler.
Hamilton will be Yale’s third provost in less than two years. Hockfield replaced former Provost Alison Richard in January 2003, when Richard left Yale to lead the University of Cambridge as its vice-chancellor.
The Yale Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body, must formally approve Hamilton’s appointment at its next meeting.
Hockfield said she is confident that Hamilton possesses the abilities to succeed her as provost.
“It’s a brilliant decision, particularly now when the University has made an extraordinary commitment to the development of the sciences,” Hockfield said.
As he praised the work of Hockfield, who is also a natural scientist, Hamilton said he plans to continue Yale’s recent investment in developing Science Hill. The reputation of the University’s science departments must continue to grow, Hamilton said, adding that Yale must maintain its “vitality” in the humanities, social sciences and professional schools.
Born in England in 1952, Hamilton received a Ph.D. from University of Cambridge. After teaching at the University of Pittsburgh and Princeton University, he joined the Yale faculty in 1997 as a chemistry professor, and became chair of his department in 1999. Hamilton has served as a deputy provost since 2003.