Daniel H. Weiss assumed the presidency of Lafayette College July 1, 2005. Lafayette, which is located in Easton, Pa., is a highly selective independent, coeducational institution enrolling 2,400 undergraduates. The College offers programs of instruction leading to the bachelor of arts degree in 37 fields of study, including engineering, and the bachelor of science degree in nine areas of science and four fields of engineering.
In fall 2007, the trustees and faculty of the College unanimously approved a new strategic plan for Lafayette following a yearlong process led by Weiss. The Plan for Lafayette calls for ambitious investment in the academic core of the institution, including a 20% increase in the size of the permanent faculty, an enhanced commitment to student access and community diversity, the development of new programs and facilities in the life sciences and the arts, and a renewed commitment to a strong and vital partnership with the City of Easton.
In the first four years of implementation, the College has increased the size of the permanent faculty by more than 10%, revised the Common Course of Study for the first time in 18 years, and developed interdisciplinary programs in environmental science; health and life sciences; film and media; theater; women’s and gender studies; and bioengineering. In 2010 the College announced plans for a major initiative in the arts, achieved with external funding and in partnership with the City of Easton. In 2011 the College announced major gifts to support the creation of the Oechsle Center for Global Education; Grossman House, a residence hall for global studies; the campus quad renovation project; and a new endowment to support strategic initiatives in the Division of Engineering. In recent years Lafayette has been recognized frequently for its commitment to community service and economic revitalization and was the only college in the nation to receive a collaborative grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its Urban Arts initiative with the City of Easton.
Weiss came to Lafayette from The Johns Hopkins University, where he was the James B. Knapp Dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. His duties as dean included oversight of all departments and faculty, graduate and undergraduate academic programs, scholarly and scientific research, budget and financial operations, strategic planning, development and alumni affairs, housing and student life, admissions, and enrollment services. Before being named to that position in 2002, he was dean of the faculty at the Krieger School, with responsibility for academic and budgetary oversight of 300 faculty within 30 departments and major centers.
A leading authority on the art of medieval Europe in the Age of the Crusades, Weiss was a professor of art history in the Krieger School and chaired the art history department from 1998 to 2001. He earned an M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1992) in art history at Johns Hopkins and joined the faculty there in 1993. He also holds an M.B.A. (1985) from Yale School of Management and was a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc. from 1985 to 1989. He received his B.A. from The George Washington University in 1979, with a double major in art history and psychology.
Weiss has written or edited four books and numerous articles on the art of the Middle Ages, with a special focus on Romanesque, Gothic, and Crusader art and the interaction of Byzantine culture with the Medieval West. He has also published widely in other fields, including American higher education and the Second World War, and has lectured at many colleges, universities, and museums in the United States and abroad. His research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Harvard University, Yale University, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Centro italiano di studi sull’Alto medioevo.
In 1994 he won the Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize, which is awarded annually by the Medieval Academy of America for a first article in the field of Medieval studies judged to be of outstanding quality. He was one of the first art historians to receive that award. He received three awards for teaching excellence as a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty and was the recipient of the Aaron O. Hoff People’s Choice Award at Lafayette College in 2006. In 2006 he received the Community Partner Award from the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and in 2007 and 2011 the Community Service Award from the Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce.
Weiss is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, a trustee of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and a member of the board of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society. He is married to Sandra Jarva Weiss, a graduate of The George Washington University and its law school. A specialist in health-care law, she is a partner in the firm of Norris, McLaughlin & Morris. The Weisses have two sons, Teddy and Joel.
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