Rudenstine Made NY Library Chair

Former Harvard President Elected Chairman of New York Public Library

Former Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine was elected chairman of the board of the New York Public Library on Wednesday, effective immediately.

Rudenstine has served as a trustee of the library since 2001, the same year that his decade-long tenure as Harvard president came to a close.

“The New York Public Library is one of New York’s great institutions and one of the world’s greatest libraries,” Rudenstine said in a statement.

Rudenstine is also the chairman of the board of ARTstor, a nonprofit digital arts library.

Rudenstine’s experience running a major research University may prove useful in his new position as chairman.

The Library is currently in the midst of a $1.2 billion capital campaign. The goals of the campaign include the expansion of its historic Stephen A. Schwarzman building that would make it the largest research and circulating library in the world.

Rudenstine spearheaded Harvard’s first University-wide capital campaign in 1994. The campaign exceeded its goal of $2.1 billion, eventually reaching $2.6 billion—the largest capital campaign in history at the time.

During his time at Harvard, Rudenstine also expanded federally funded research at the University. When Rudenstine became president in 1991, the University received $200 million in federal funds. By 2000, that number had grown to $320 million.

In 1999, Rudenstine presided over the creation of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study—an interdisciplinary research institution that focuses specifically on the study of women, gender, and society.

Rudenstine is inheriting the library after a period of significant growth and expansion under its previous chairman, Catherine C. Marron, who has served since 2004.

Under Marron, five new libraries were built and the endowment increased from $475 million to $800 million. Marron also led library’s digital expansion.

“Catie Marron—as Chair of the Board—has been a superb leader during a challenging era. I feel privileged to follow her, and am inspired by her many accomplishments,” Rudenstine said.

—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at


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