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Art Historian Daniel Weiss Returns

Daniel H. Weiss

Art historian Daniel H. Weiss, A&S ’82 (MA), ’92 (PhD), has returned to Johns Hopkins as Homewood Professor of the Humanities, following eight years as president and then president and chief executive officer of the Metro­politan Museum of Art in New York.

Weiss joined the faculty of the Department of the History of Art in 1993 and served as James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School from 2002 until 2005, when he became presi­dent of Lafayette College. In 2013, he was appointed president of Haver­ford College, serving until 2015, when he joined the Met. Last year, Weiss announced that he would step down from his role at the Met in June 2023.

“We welcome back our esteemed colleague with open arms,” said Christopher S. Celenza, James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. “Dan brings a breathtaking depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise to the fields of art history and museum leadership. We look forward to the ways the presence of such a distin­guished scholar will advance discovery across the school, and to watching stu­dents and peers alike flourish through his inspiration and mentorship.”

Weiss steered the Met—where he had been a regular visitor since child­hood—through a time of financial struggle, taking the institution from high deficits at his arrival to a bal­anced budget by 2020. With some 1.5 million objects in its collection and an operating budget of $350 million, the Met is one of the world’s larg­est and most diverse art museums.

A New Beginning

Weiss is considered a leader across the museum landscape for such initia­tives as turning down funding from the Sackler family over their connection to the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma; prioritizing diversity and inclusion in areas ranging from hiring to collections and programming to community engagement; and increas­ing attendance—under his watch, the museum set records for three years in a row at more than 7 million visitors per year.

As Homewood Professor, Weiss will conduct research and teach. A specialist in the art of the Middle Ages, particularly French art in the age of the Crusades and during the reign of Louis IX in the 13th century, Weiss has also published widely on a variety of other topics, including higher education, museums, and American culture. His most recent books include Why the Museum Matters (2022), In That Time: Michael O’Donnell and the Tragic Era of Vietnam (2019), and Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts (2013).

“It’s an honor and a special pleas­ure to return to Johns Hopkins,” Weiss said. “I look forward to rejoining the extraordinary community of scholars, teachers, and students at this great uni­versity. Teaching and mentoring stu­dents have always been great passions of mine. I look forward to being back on campus and to contributing what I can to the work of the Krieger School.”

A History in Art

Weiss, who grew up on Long Island, earned a BA in psychology at George Washington University in 1979. Inter­ested in pursuing a museum career, he went on to earn a master’s in medi­eval and modern art at the Krieger School in 1982, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1985. After four years of strategic manage­ment consulting in New York, he was ready to combine his interests in arts and education, and returned to Hop­kins. He earned a PhD in western medi­eval and Byzantine art with a minor in classical Greek art and architecture and then joined the faculty, remain­ing at Hopkins for the next 16 years.

Weiss was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021. Also that year, he was one of the inau­gural recipients of George Washing­ton University’s Monumental Alumni Award, the highest form of alumni recog­nition the university gives to honor liv­ing alumni who have made an impact on the world through their work and service. He was elected to the Soci­ety of Scholars at Hopkins in 2018, and is the author of seven books.