APSIA is Sad to Report the Death of Richard Descoigns, President of Sciences Po, an APSIA Member Institution
April 9, 2012 News
With great sadness, Sciences Po marks the death of Richard Descoings, president since 1996, who died in New York on Tuesday April 3. He was 53 years old.
In a statement, Jean-Claude Casanova, chairman of the board of the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, said:
The death of Richard Descoings affects all members of the very large community of Sciences Po: students, alumni, faculty, staff and our international partners. It is unjust because it comes at a time when he was at the height of his talent. It is unjust because it comes at a moment when some questioned his merits. In order to pay him homage, it is the first duty of Sciences Po to continue his work with determination and generosity, as he would have done and as he would have wanted us to do The governing bodies of Sciences Po will choose his successor in due course. For the moment, it is immense emotion and the need for reflection that dominate. In the period ahead, all of us at Sciences Po will pursue our duties in exemplary fashion in order to preserve, prolong and amplify the work that Richard Descoings accomplished in 16 years.
A graduate of Sciences Po and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), Richard Descoings was a member of the Conseil d’Etat. Before taking the position of Sciences Po president he served as a special advisor to the French Budget Minister and then to the French Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research. During his tenure, Sciences Po became thoroughly international, with 40% of students now coming from outside France. At home, one of Richard Descoings’ landmark measures was the broadening of the admissions system to recruit bright French students from disadvantaged areas directly from their high schools, coupled with the introduction of an extensive system of financial aid that now benefits one in four students. He created six undergraduate campuses around France, each focusing on a different region of the world. He also overhauled the academic programme and launched a drive to strengthen academic research.
In January 2009, Richard Descoings was mandated by President Nicolas Sarkozy to head a working group on secondary school education reform. He later published a book about his findings, entitled Un lycée pavé de bonnes intentions.
Richard Descoings was an active member of the French Universities’ Presidents Association. An Honorary Doctor of Waseda University in Tokyo, and a Commander of the Order of Rio Branco in Brazil, he was also decorated by the French government with the Chevalier National de la Légion d’Honneur and the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de Mérite, among other honours.
(Sciences Po website)