NYU Shanghai’s Vice Chancellor Granted Honorary Shanghai Citizenship

Lehman in his office with antique furniture
Sep 30 2021

This week the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress approved the award of honorary Shanghai citizenship to Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman. Since 1997, the honor has been bestowed upon foreigners who have made valuable contributions to the city’s growth and development. 

Lehman has lived in Shanghai for almost a decade, arriving in 2012 to serve as NYU Shanghai’s Founding Vice Chancellor and to help build the world’s first Sino-U.S. joint university. With Chancellor Emeritus Yu Lizhong and current Chancellor Tong Shijun, Lehman has guided NYU Shanghai from a single class of 295 first year students into a thriving research university with nearly 2,000 undergraduates and several hundred graduate students. During his tenure, NYU Shanghai has recruited world renowned senior scholars and some of the world’s most promising young researchers to the university’s faculty. NYU Shanghai graduates have won prestigious international fellowships, continued their studies at internationally renowned universities, and secured employment with outstanding entities in all sectors.

“In the decade that we have been building our university, Shanghai has become my home, a city that I truly love,” Lehman said. “I see this award as a recognition of the work that NYU Shanghai has done to strengthen our city’s ties to outstanding higher education - around China and around the world.”

A ceremony to honor Lehman and his fellow 2021 honoree, Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman of the L’Oreal cosmetic company, will be held after the National Day holidays. Since 1997, 48 individuals have been named Honorary Citizens of Shanghai. 

Lehman also currently  serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. Before moving to Shanghai, Lehman had served as the founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen. He has also served as the eleventh president of Cornell University, and as dean of the University of Michigan Law School.  

In 2018, China named him one of “The Most Influential Foreign Experts During 40 Years of China’s Reform and Opening-Up.” He also received a Gold Magnolia Award from the Shanghai Municipal People's Government in 2015.