AJU Announces Jeffrey Herbst, PhD as New President

On June 6, 2018, and following a nearly 6 month national search, the AJU Board of Directors unanimously elected Dr. Jeffrey Herbst as the next President of American Jewish University.

Herbst will become only the fourth president in the history of American Jewish University (formerly known as the University of Judaism), following Dr. Robert Wexler and Dr. David Lieber, who served the institution for a combined 55 years (26 and 29 years respectively), and founding president Dr. Simon Greenberg.

“It is a great honor to be named the new president of American Jewish University,” said Herbst.  “To lead a thriving Jewish institution that educates across the lifecycle – engaging children in summer camp, teaching students in undergraduate and graduate programs, preparing the next generation of rabbis and Jewish educators, and educating the wider community is tremendously exciting.”

Most recently, Dr. Herbst was president and CEO of the Newseum and the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC. From 2010 to 2015, he was president of Colgate University, where among other accomplishments he is credited with helping the university complete its nearly half billion-dollar fundraising campaign, leading the development and initial implementation of a university-wide strategic plan, and increasing the diversity and academic caliber of its educational programming.

Additionally, Dr. Herbst was a Senior Fellow at the Brenthurst Foundation, was a two-time Fulbright Scholar, and is currently a trustee of Freedom House.  He has also served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and as professor of political science at Miami University in Ohio, and taught at Princeton University for almost two decades.

Dr. Herbst earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in political science from Yale University. He is the author of the award-winning “States and Power in Africa” and, with several co-authors, the just-published “Making Africa Work.” In addition to many books and articles, he has been published in Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and many other digital and print publications around the world.

You can read Dr. Herbst’s full curriculum vitae, biography and the official press release online at www.aju.edu/presidentialsearch.

Dr. Herbst officially begins his tenure on July 1, and will be joined in Los Angeles by his wife, Sharon Polansky, PhD.  Married for almost thirty years, they have three grown children; two sons, living in San Francisco and New York City, and a daughter who serves in the Israel Defense Forces.

Dr. Herbst is extremely excited to begin meeting members of the AJU community and all who are interested in the university's mission.  He welcomes community members to reach out to him directly at Jeffrey.Herbstataju.edu (JeffreydotHerbstatajudotedu).


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Michelle Starkman, M.A., MBA
Vice President, Communications
(310) 440-1526