Yale-NUS founding President Pericles Lewis will return to Yale to take up a “senior administrative post” after May 2017.
Lewis will not seek a second term when his five-year presidency concludes next year, Yale-NUS announced Wednesday. The search for a new president will begin in the coming academic year. When a new president is appointed, Yale-NUS will see a complete change of face in its senior leadership since its launch in 2011.
The announcement comes in a year of significant administrative turnover at the fledgling institution. All four inaugural deans at the college have departed. And just last week, Yale appointed Yale-NUS founding dean of faculty Charles Bailyn head of Benjamin Franklin College.
“When we were recruiting [Lewis], we were aware that he would likely return to the United States so that his children might conclude secondary school there,” Yale-NUS Governing Board Chairman Kay Kuok said in a statement. “He was such an attractive candidate that we wanted the opportunity for him to serve regardless.”
The college did not specify what Pericles’ position will be upon his return to Yale. A former Yale professor, Pericles served as Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Literature Major and Director of Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature at Yale.
Pericles has led Yale-NUS through a difficult stretch of the college’s history. He defended the concept of liberal arts education in Singapore when the college’s opening faced strong opposition from Yale faculty. Under his leadership, Yale-NUS has enrolled more than 700 students for its first three classes and recruited more than 120 faculty members.
Kuok said no one has embodied Yale-NUS’ mission — “In Asia, for the world” — more clearly than Lewis.
“My greatest source of pride is Yale-NUS College’s success in living up to the underlying values of liberal education: free inquiry, open discussion, respect for a diversity of views, and the constant search for knowledge,” Lewis said in the press release, “I believe that this ethos will inspire our community in the years to come and will continue to attract some of the world’s best students, faculty, and administrators to Yale-NUS.”