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Berliner leaves legacy of dedication


Dr. Herman Berliner, who holds the title of Provost three times longer than all who preceded him, has announced that he will step down from the position next fall. The Provost is the second-in-command to the President of the University, who advises the President on academic affairs.

Dr. Berliner has worked at Hofstra University for 45 years. He started in 1970 as a professor and intends to teach again after taking a year off. Dr. Berliner was the dean of the business school and the dean of the education school for a year. For 18 months before becoming Provost, Dr. Berliner was the Associate Dean of Advisement.

Photo courtesy of University Relations

During the 25 years, Dr. Berliner helped establish the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, School of Engineering and Applied Science. He was also involved in the development of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Honors College, School of Health Sciences and Human Services and the School for University Studies.

“[He] acted as a source of mediation when dealing with conflicts that the faculty had,” said Professor Stuart Bass, the senate executive committee chair. “It will be hard to replace Herman.”

To chronicle his responsibilities as Provost, Dr. Berliner writes his philosophical findings on “The Provost’s Blog: An Academic Adventure.”

Dr. Berliner wrote about his participation in St. Baldrick’s Day in one of his blog posts on March 24.

“I made the pledge almost three years ago. If the Hofstra fundraising effort, organized by our Roller Hockey team raised $25,000 I would agree to have my head shave on Wednesday, when our St. Baldrick’s Day was scheduled, we exceeded $33,000,” he wrote. “My hair was a goner. I immediately ordered a hat for myself and paid for rush delivery…  I also made a contribution to St. Baldrick’s. I was waiting so that my contribution wouldn’t count toward the total.”

A sense of humor is an important quality to have for a position as serious as the Provost, according to Berliner. Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry Dr. William Nirode called Berliner’s St.Baldrick’s Day participation one of his favorite memories of the Provost.

Dr. Berliner believes in a core for a good learning experience. He pursues excellence in teaching, small classes and student learning. In order to make this happen, Dr. Berliner learned that one of the most important qualities a Provost needs is patience when working on a project or people on the administration. As Dr. Bernard J. Firestone, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences College, said, Dr. Berliner is “principled but flexible.”

Dr. Liora Schmelkin, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and the Dean of Graduate Studies believes that Dr. Berliner has this quality along with having a good sense of humor.

“I have maintained that Dr. Berliner is indeed the ‘heart and soul’ of Hofstra University,” said Schmelkin.

During his year off from the Hofstra campus, Dr. Berliner plans to get involved in foundations. He will also take economic seminars to preapre for his return to the Unviersity.

Upon returning from his one-year hiatus, Dr. Berliner plans to return to his roots, teaching in the economics department. When Dr. Berliner was in college himself, he took classes in many departments before he realized how much he enjoyed learning about economics.

His advice to students is to major in what they have a passion for.

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