BY Mohammed Awal, 12:00pm January 22, 2020,

Meet Jonathan Holloway; first Black president of Rutgers University since its establishment in 1766

Image credit: Rutgers

Jonathan Holloway has made history as the first black person to become president of Rutgers University.

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. 

Since its establishment in 1766, the university which is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States has never had a black president until the appointment of Holloway.

The appointment of Holloway, 52, as the president of Rutgers isn’t the first time he’s inking his name in history.

A professor of History and African American Studies, Holloway in 2014 became the first Black dean at Yale University.

“I was drawn to the opportunity at Rutgers University because of its amazing history, its foundation of excellence in teaching and its ambition to continue conducting life-changing research that improves our communities, our country, and our world,” Holloway said in a statement shared by Rutgers.

Jonathan Holloway
President-Designate Jonathan Holloway gives remarks after his appointment as the 21st president of Rutgers University.
Rutgers University/Nick Romanenko

“Bob Barchi’s extraordinary leadership has helped place Rutgers among the preeminent public universities in the world,” he added. “I cannot wait to help write the next chapter in the history of this magnificent institution.”

The Rutgers Board of Governors, with the advice and consent of the Rutgers Board of Trustees, announced Holloway’s appointment at a joint meeting of the two boards Tuesday, the statement said. The Board of Governors also appointed Holloway as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Holloway will replace current president Robert Barchi, who has announced he will step down at the end of the 2019-20 school year, according to 

Holloway will begin his tenure July 1, making a base salary of $780,000 — and could earn more based on incentives.

Holloway has served as Northwestern University provost since 2017. He is Northwestern’s chief academic officer, overseeing educational policies and academic priorities, preparation of the annual budget and faculty appointments and promotions at the Big Ten institution which includes a highly ranked medical school and numerous other nationally and internationally recognized educational programs.

Before moving to Northwestern, Holloway was the dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies at Yale University. At Northwestern, he is also a professor of History and African American studies, specializing in post-emancipation social and intellectual United States history.

According to Northwestern, Holloway worked diligently to enhance the administration’s relationship with the Faculty Senate throughout his tenure at the university, playing a vital role in creating a rigorous University budget review process and was one of the leaders that aided in Northwestern’s financial turnaround. 

He is also credited with redoubling the University’s emphasis on global issues and impact and has been a strong voice on a variety of key institutional issues, including diversity and inclusion. 

“It’s been a joy working with Jonathan, and I’m thrilled that we can still work together as Big Ten Conference colleagues,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “I fully expect him to enjoy being a president as much as I do because he has so much to offer in this role. 

Schapiro said Holloway has “led with vision, empathy, and integrity,” while ensuring Northwestern’s core values remained intact.”

“Jonathan has been an indispensable member of my senior leadership team,” the President said. “Rutgers has found an outstanding new president. While I will miss his steady leadership and impeccable guidance, I am delighted for his new opportunity and wish him and his family all the best in this next chapter in their lives.”

Holloway received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American Studies from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in History from Yale University. He began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, before joining the faculty at Yale in 1999.

Holloway serves on boards of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois Humanities, the National Humanities Alliance, the Society for United States Intellectual History and the Organization of American Historians.

According to Rutgers Board of Governors Chair Mark Angelson, who also chaired the presidential search committee, Holloway is “an extraordinarily distinguished scholar with an outstanding record as an academic administrator at Northwestern and Yale. He is thoughtful, visionary, inclusive and decisive. He leads with remarkable integrity, and is just the right person to build upon Rutgers’ long tradition as an academic and research powerhouse”.

“Selecting our university president is perhaps the Board of Governors’ most important responsibility. We are confident that we have chosen the best person to lead Rutgers into the future,” he said.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: January 22, 2020


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