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Hofstra president retiring when his term is up in August 2021

Stuart Rabinowitz, 74, has been president of Hofstra

Stuart Rabinowitz, 74, has been president of Hofstra University since 2000. He started working at the university at age 26. Credit: Heather Walsh

Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz, who has led the school for nearly two decades and served there for half a century, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective at the end of his term on Aug. 31, 2021.

The search for his successor will begin immediately, according to an email sent to staff and posted on Hofstra's website.

“By the date of my retirement, I will have had the honor and privilege of serving our wonderful university for 50 years: 19 years as a member of the law school faculty, 11 years as its dean and 20 years as its president. In every position I have held, I have devoted all of my professional energies toward helping the university and its students reach their full potential," Rabinowitz, 74, said in a statement.

Rabinowitz assured Hofstra's board of trustees he will continue to devote his energy and attention to the presidency, and will assist in ensuring a smooth transition.

“What President Rabinowitz has done for Hofstra in all of his roles, culminating with the presidency, is extraordinary and has significantly contributed to the preeminence that Hofstra has achieved, in particular over the past 20 years during his presidency," Donald Schaeffer, chairman of the board of trustees, said in a statement. "President Rabinowitz has built an incredibly strong foundation from which the university will continue to grow and excel.”

In 2000, Rabinowitz, who at the time was dean of the law school, was named the university's eighth president. He was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from City College of New York, and earned his law degree from Columbia University. Rabinowitz joined the Hofstra Law School faculty in 1972 at age 26.

Under his tenure, the university, which now enrolls about 10,800 students, made strides to elevate its reputation, becoming more selective in its admissions, and gaining attention with events such as presidential debates in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In a radical move in 2009, Hofstra eliminated its football program, freeing up $4.5 million to use in other ways. Two years later, the university located in Hempstead welcomed the first class of medical students to its newly established Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

According to a database of private college executive salaries compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education and the university's tax forms, Rabinowitz’s total compensation exceeded $1.5 million in 2017.

Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law said in a statement that Rabinowitz "is one of the smartest and funniest guys I know. He helped make Hofstra a national university and brought worldwide attention to our region by hosting the last three presidential debates. All Long Islanders owe him a big thank you for his successful efforts here."

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement that Rabinowitz's "leadership took Hofstra University to the next level, and his advocacy on behalf of the people of Long Island has made a difference for so many."


  • Chosen by Hofstra's board of trustees to serve as the eighth president of the university on Dec. 20, 2000, and assumed office in June 2001.
  • He served as dean of Hofstra's law school from September 1989 through June 2001.
  • Under his leadership, Hofstra has created several schools, including the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, the Hofstra/Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs, and the School of Health Professions and Human Services.
  • He founded the university’s National Center for Suburban Studies and the Center for Entrepreneurship.
  • Hofstra has conducted two successful capital campaigns, increased the university’s endowment and long-term investments more than fivefold to more than $600 million, and achieved two credit rating upgrades from Moody's to A2.

SOURCE: Hofstra University

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