Chemistry scholar Henry C. “Hank” Foley, interim chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia, will become president of New York Institute of Technology on June 1, the university announced Wednesday.
Foley, 61, was selected as NYIT’s fourth president following a seven-month search by a 10-member presidential search committee.
He will succeed Edward Guiliano, who led the 10,000-student school for 16 years. Guiliano announced in September that he would step down, and Rahmat Shoureshi, the school’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, has served as interim president since late January.
Foley, in an interview Wednesday, said NYIT is “perfectly poised to be an exciting global university in the 21st century.”
“I think other schools around the country, particularly larger universities, have wonderful legacy programs, but it’s hard to support all those legacy programs,” he said. “NYIT is younger, it’s smaller, it’s already globalized, it’s got a highly diverse faculty and staff. So we’re in a wonderful position to create new programs and educational products that I think will allow us to leapfrog legacy institutions.”
Kevin D. Silva, chairman of NYIT’s board of trustees, said Foley “came out to the top of the list” among 70 candidates.
“He’s got leadership. He has vision. He has financial acumen, which will help maintain the school,” Silva said in an interview.
Guiliano is credited with expanding the technology-driven institution beyond its main campuses in Old Westbury and Manhattan by opening sites in Vancouver, British Columbia; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Nanjing and Beijing, China. During his tenure, NYIT also opened a branch of its osteopathic medical school on the Jonesboro campus of Arkansas State University.
The university plans to build its first student housing project on the Old Westbury campus, a 700-bed facility that officials have said would allow for better student recruiting and retention. Residential students there now mostly live on the nearby campus of SUNY Old Westbury, under NYIT’s arrangement with that school.
About 27 percent of students on NYIT campuses in the United States are from other countries, according to university figures.
“I think the opportunity to grow the international population and the international programs is a tremendously exciting prospect,” Foley said.
Silva said areas of priority under the new president’s leadership are “connection with the community and the faculty and staff, connection with the students — sharing his vision to help us continue to be a cutting-edge global institution.”
The challenges the school faces “are the same that all universities face, which is value for the dollar,” the board chairman said. “An education is expensive, and all universities, including NYIT, need to be sure that they’re equipping their students with the highest likelihood of employment in their field.”
Foley has managed a $2.1 billion enterprise as interim chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a post he has held since November 2015. He joined the university system in 2013 as executive vice president for academic affairs, tasked with growing its academic and research expertise.
Before he took on administrative positions, Foley garnered 16 patents as a physical chemist, largely for his advances in the field of catalysis. His achievements include creating a way to separate molecules on the basis of size and shape, using nanoporous carbons.
He also authored the textbook “Introduction to Chemical Engineering Analysis Using Mathematica,” published in 2003.
Previously, he was vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at Pennsylvania State University. He also has held faculty appointments at Penn State and the University of Delaware.
Foley said he would “have to look at everything very carefully, both from a financial and academic perspective.”
“Our goal is to be excellent and to really provide the highest value education for the dollar, and to make it a 21st century of education,” he said.
Foley earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Providence College, his master’s degree in chemistry from Purdue University and his doctorate in physical and inorganic chemistry from Penn State.