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Northwestern University
Dean Adrian Randolphleft

Weinberg Welcomes New Dean Adrian Randolph

Adrian Randolph bridges many boundaries — between disciplines, cultures, and areas of intellectual inquiry.

So it’s no surprise that Randolph, the associate dean of the Faculty for the Arts and Humanities at Dartmouth College, eagerly accepted the opportunity to become Weinberg College’s next dean. 

“Weinberg is a place that holds very dearly the values of the liberal arts education, and by that I mean a truly interdisciplinary education, where students have incentives to explore and the courage to cross disciplinary lines to try new things,” Randolph said. 

Randolph will succeed Sarah Mangelsdorf, who resigned in July 2014 to become provost of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Mark Ratner, the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry, has served as Weinberg’s interim dean for the 2014–2015 academic year. 

Randolph, who will become dean on July 1, is the Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History at Dartmouth, where he has taught since 1995. A specialist in medieval and Renaissance Italy, his scholarship blends visual analysis with other contextual information from fields as varied as science, literature, social history and gender studies. As director of Dartmouth’s Leslie Center for the Humanities, he developed lecture series, conferences and programming on topics as diverse as humor and race, Native American art, and science and visualization. 

Randolph said he is excited to join an institution with the scope and scale of Northwestern. That’s due in large part to his interests, which range well beyond art history and the humanities. 

“I really care about education in medicine and engineering,” Randolph said. “Education is about expanding the opportunities for students to move across those boundaries, in addition to the ones within the arts and sciences. That’s exciting to me as well.” 

Randolph noted that Northwestern is at a pivotal moment in its trajectory, with a capital campaign under way and Weinberg College developing a new strategic plan. The University recently received two large gifts — more than $100 million from Roberta Buffett Elliott ’54 to support global studies, and $92 million from Louis A. Simpson ’58 and Kimberly K. Querry to advance biomedical research. Both of those gifts will have “ripple effects” throughout the university, he said, “and they produce an excitement to envision new spaces for inquiry.”

“Northwestern has been on a path of increasing prominence in higher education,” Randolph observed. “It’s in a wonderful position to secure its place as one of the premiere institutions of higher learning in the world.”

Randolph completed his B.A. at Princeton University, his M.A. at the University of London and his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He has authored, co-authored or edited five books and numerous articles, essays and reviews. He also has served on the international advisory board of the journal Art History as well as the University Press of New England.

A scholar who has lived in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany in addition to the United States, Randolph is a strong advocate for the enduring value of an arts and science degree in a global economy.

“The interdisciplinary education represented by the liberal arts and sciences has proven to be the most robust and successful system of higher education in
the world,” Randolph said. 

“Static” skills — “learning how to do something and then trying to get a job doing that” — will not serve students over the course of their careers, he said. “That’s not the reality of our students’ lives. And that’s not the reality of future leaders,” he added. 

“Places like Northwestern are educating students to be transformative leaders,” Randolph said. “If that’s what you are trying to accomplish, I’ll put my faith in the liberal arts and sciences.”

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