David Fithian, whose academic career began as a Clark University undergraduate and progressed to senior leadership roles at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, became the 10th president of Clark University in July 2020.
Fithian, a 1987 graduate of Clark who earned two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree from Yale University, came to Clark from the University of Chicago, where he served as executive vice president. (Read more about his accomplishments at Chicago.)
Before joining Chicago in 2007, Fithian served for 12 years at Harvard, holding increasingly elevated responsibilities. As assistant dean of freshmen and, later, the Allston Burr Senior Tutor (resident dean) of Adams House, he oversaw the academic standing and personal well-being of more than 500 first-year and 400 upper-class students each year. As associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, he coordinated all aspects of faculty governance, including the monitoring and coordination of faculty-related policies, procedures, and legislation.
A New York City/Westchester County native, Fithian graduated from Clark as a sociology and English major with a passion for art and architecture and earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Yale. His dissertation, “A Dark and Shining Stone: Symbol Contests and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” received the Theron Rockwell Field Prize, the first time a social science dissertation received this distinguished literary award. He has lectured in the departments of sociology at Yale, the University of Connecticut, and Harvard, where he also taught seminars for the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies.
Fithian and his husband, Michael Rodriguez, Ph.D., recently celebrated their 27th anniversary together and their 17th anniversary of legal marriage. They met in graduate school at Yale, where Michael received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He completed his clinical and post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School before serving as the Resident Dean of Adams House and teaching innovative and influential courses in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. He and Fithian raise and breed Friesian horses.