Dr. S. David Wu named next president of Baruch


Courtesy of CUNY

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez announced the first Asian-American Baruch College President after an executive session decision at the Feb. 3 Board of Trustees meeting.

Provost and Executive Vice President of George Mason University Dr. S. David Wu is set to take over the role of Baruch President with a term starting on July 1 after the Board voted unanimously to approve him.

Wu will be replacing current Baruch President Mitchel Wallerstein, who first announced that he would be retiring back in October of 2018 through a Baruch Students Announcements email blast. 

“I am writing to inform you that I have decided that this will be my final year as president of Baruch College,” Wallerstein wrote in his email blast to students. “I expect to remain associated with CUNY thereafter as a university professor and will be writing and teaching courses in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.”

Wallerstein then re-announced not long after that he would stay on as president for another year, after then-Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs David Christy announced that he, too, would be retiring by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. 

By staying on another year, Wallerstein gave the Presidential Search Committee — comprised of faculty, alumni and Undergraduate Student Government members — more time to find a replacement for him and allowed for the transition of interim provost James McCarthy during this school year.

The search committee was tasked with finding viable candidates for the role of president, who were then turned over to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees for the confirmation. 

“I am grateful to the presidential search committee for its work,” Matos Rodriguez wrote in the email to students. “They have reported to me the results of their process recommending a small group of highly qualified candidates that will continue on to the next stage of the search.” 

As interim provost McCarthy has settled into his temporary role in the school, Wallerstein is scheduled to step down after commencement in 2020, opening up the position to Wu.

He will be the eighth president of the college and the first Asian-American president in CUNY history. Beyond the historical significance of his appointment, Wu brings with him a long track record of success from his former positions.

At George Mason University, where there are over 38,000 students and 6,000 academic and administrative staff, Wu worked to expand the school’s engineering and operations research programs, oversaw an annual budget of over $1.3 billion and increased student diversity.

Before working at George Mason, Wu served as the Dean for the Rossin College of Engineering and held the Lee A. Iacocca Chair at Lehigh University, where he created connections and collaborations with another nearby college and led the university’s strategic planning and a major fundraising campaign.

“It is a privilege to join this remarkable community and I am both honored and humbled,” Wu was quoted as saying in a CUNY press release. “Baruch is one of the most impressive institutions I have encountered in my academic career. The combination of achieving academic excellence at the highest level, while being the most effective agent for social mobility not only makes Baruch a prime example for the founding vision for the CUNY system, but makes Baruch a model for public higher education.”

A video message from Wu was sent out to Baruch students through email on Feb. 6, greeting the school community and expressing his excitement to start in July.

Wallerstein reached out to Baruch students after the news broke through email and gave comment on his successor.

“In selecting Dr. Wu to be the next president, I believe that Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and the presidential search committee have ensured Baruch’s continued national prominence in educational excellence, access, and social mobility,” Wallerstein wrote in an email blast to students.

Members of the Board of Trustees seem pleased with their choice, including the chair.

“Dr. Wu is a proven academic leader with an impressive record of achievements,” Board of Trustees Chairperson William Thompson Jr. said. “His dedication to academic excellence will serve Baruch College and CUNY well. We look forward to the ideas and energy he will bring to the important work of securing Baruch’s continued standing as one of the preeminent institutions of public higher education in the United States.”

The university system’s chancellor also shared his excitement with the decision.

“Dr. Wu brings an impressive record of academic leadership and vision to the university,” Matos Rodríguez said in the press release.

“Baruch will benefit tremendously from his skills, energy and insights. We could not be happier that Dr. Wu has chosen to join the CUNY community, or prouder of the historical significance of his appointment.”