Stuart Rabinowitz ’69

Making the Grade

Winter 2010

Stuart Rabinowitz ’69 was the first in his family to attend a four-year college. More than 40 years later, he’s running one—and in the process, he is turning that institution into a major player in the world of academia.

Rabinowitz became president of Hofstra University in 2001. Since then, he has launched an honors college, broken ground on a new medical school slated to open in 2011, and attracted a presidential debate to his school’s Long Island campus.

“I kept trying to run away from being an administrator,” says Rabinowitz, who harbored academic aspirations as early as his first year of Law School. “But I kept getting called back a number of times.”

Hofstra recruited Rabinowitz in 1972 when it was searching for professors to
join the faculty of its law school, which was then just 2 years old. “I had offers to teach at established law schools,” he recalls, “but I was so excited to play a role in building something.”

In 1989, Rabinowitz became dean of the law school. He used that platform to secure merit-based pay for faculty members, promote professorial scholarship, and raise $20 million in his first capital campaign. His successes caught the attention of the university’s board of trustees, which offered Rabinowitz the chance to alter the course of the entire institution as its president.

“Someday, Hofstra is going to be recognized for its excellence in all areas,” he says. “The question in my mind is always, ‘How can we become great?’”