NYU Hires Renowned Classicist From Columbia U. to Lead New Institute

April 05, 2007

New York University has taken a page from the empires of antiquity by carrying off a prize from a rival kingdom. The prize is a renowned professor at Columbia University who, in an announcement expected today, will be joining the NYU faculty.

The scholar is Roger S. Bagnall, a longtime professor at Columbia who is leading its archaeological project at Amheida, in the Dakhleh Oasis of Egypt. He will become the director of NYU’s new Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in July. The institute “will undertake a new and revolutionary approach to the study of antiquity, crossing geographic boundaries and cultures,” said John E. Sexton, NYU’s president.

Mr. Bagnall is a professor of history and classics at Columbia, a former graduate dean, and the author of books on Egypt, the Hellenistic period, and papyri. The institute, which will be housed in a 27,000-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is being financed with a $200-million gift from the Leon Levy Foundation. The institute will begin hiring other faculty members in the 2007-8 academic year. —Sierra Millman