Lower Manhattan’s hometown college, Pace University, will soon have new leadership and an upgraded campus, to go along with its burgeoning reputation.
The new hand on the rudder will belong to Marvin Krislov, a lawyer, educator, and former Rhodes Scholar who has served for the past decade are president of Oberlin College, in Ohio — a post that he plans to vacate this June, after which he will become the eighth president of Pace University. (Mr. Krislov will replace Pace’s current president, Stephen Friedman, who is retiring.)
Mr. Krislov, who also served in the White House counsel’s office during the Clinton administration, will take the helm at an exciting time for Pace. The university recently announced a $190-million plan to upgrade its Lower Manhattan campus, which is located along the south side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The renovation plan will transform the campus, which takes up multiple square blocks and occupies the site of the former New York Tribune building, in which Pace was founded in 1906, during an era when Park Row was a district of newspaper offices. The project envisions (among other enhancements) adding several floors to the flagship building at One Pace Plaza, which has been criticized for resembling at garrison more than an institution of higher learning. (The rampart-like quality of One Pace Plaza’s concrete facade will be tempered by creating new windows to let in natural light.)
The university has also been on a building spree of another sort in recent years: In 2015, it opened the tallest college residence hall anywhere in the world — a 34-story facility located at the corner of Beekman and William Streets. This followed the 2013 ribbon cutting for a 23-floor dormitory located at 182 Broadway, near the corner of John Street.
Pace hopes to fund the campus renovation project, in part, with proceeds from the 2016 sale of another student housing facility, a 15-story former office building at 106 Fulton Street that the University bought and converted into dorm rooms in 1999. This transaction brought in more than $60 million.
Mr. Krislov may have been selected to lead Pace in part because of his fund-raising prowess. At Oberlin, he oversaw the most successful contribution drive in Oberlin’s history, which reached its $250-million target 18 months ahead of schedule, and ultimately raised a total of $318 million.
The number of students enrolled at Pace’s campus in Lower Manhattan has more than quintupled since the start of the 21st century. The increased headcount appears to be driven, at least in part, by Lower Manhattan’s soaring reputation as a desirable place to live, work, and study. The influx of undergraduates, combined with the availability of dormitory space, has also transformed Pace from an erstwhile commuter college into one that draws students from around the nation and the world.
But Pace’s appeal for college-bound young people is also rooted in its academic stature. In January, a research paper issued by a team of economists at the Equality of Opportunity Project ranked Pace University second in the nation for propelling students who begin life in the nation’s bottom 20 percent of income distribution into the top 20 percent. (The New Jersey Institute of Technology was the only institution that ranked higher.)
Additionally, Princeton Review ranks Pace as one of the best colleges in the Northeast, while U.S. News & World Report rates its environmental law program as third in the nation, and the Hollywood Reporter lists Pace’s undergraduate and graduate performing arts programs among the 25 best in the world.