NEW YORK, NY, April 27, 2019 – Mariët Westermann, Executive Vice President for Programs and Research at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has been named Vice Chancellor of New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi—the chief executive of the institution and a member of the senior leadership of greater NYU. She will also serve as Professor of Arts and Humanities.
“Mariët has been a partner par excellence, and on behalf of the entire Foundation community, we wish to thank her for her extraordinary service as she goes on to shine and lead powerfully on this global higher education and cultural stage,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation. “Her ability always to find beauty in our work has enriched this Foundation and has shaped these early days of my leadership. I am lucky to count Mariët among my teachers, colleagues, and friends and to have benefited from her steady hand and careful ear. Working side by side with her has been a true privilege, and a joy.”
Westermann joined Mellon as Vice President in 2010 and was appointed Executive Vice President in 2016. In addition to directing the Foundation’s grantmaking programs, she was a leading architect of the 2014 strategic plan that propelled Mellon’s work over the past five years.
Westermann launched a range of important initiatives, including pathbreaking work on diversity and inclusion in American museums; expanding access to the humanities throughout the system of higher education; supporting scholars and artists at risk of persecution; forging partnerships between community colleges and universities; deploying the humanities in the study of cities; strengthening collaborations between art museums and doctoral education.
“It is very difficult to leave my Mellon home, but I do so with great confidence that, under Elizabeth’s visionary and nimble leadership, the Foundation will continue to be a bright lighthouse for the life of the mind, of art, and of action for social change,” said Westermann. “As I anticipate this exciting new chapter, I look back with the deepest wonder and gratitude at the nine years I had the privilege to work with extraordinary colleagues, always focused on how we can best support leaders in higher education, the humanities, and the arts in their tireless efforts to make our society more whole, more fair, more vibrant.”
Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Westermann was the first provost and chief academic officer of New York University Abu Dhabi, charged with directing the development of the new campus and overseeing the design of the academic program and recruitment of the faculty. Earlier in her career, she served as director and Paulette Goddard Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU and held positions as associate director of research and academic programs at the Clark Art Institute and as assistant and associate professor at Rutgers University.
Westermann earned her BA at Williams College, and her MA and PhD in the history of art at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. She is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of art in the Netherlands, and has received fellowships and grants from the American Philosophical Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Clark Art Institute, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Westermann has also served as book reviews editor for The Art Bulletin. She serves on the boards of MASS MoCA, Little Red School House and Elizabeth Irwin High School, the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, and the Institute of International Education and its Scholar Rescue Fund.
Westermann will remain at the Foundation through July 2019, seeing through development of grant recommendations and initiatives already in progress.