Jonathan Holloway Becomes 1st African-American President at Rutgers

AC JosepH Media |Rutgers University

NEW BRUNSWICK — Jonathan Holloway, provost of Northwestern University and an eminent historian, became the first African-American to be named president of Rutgers University in the history of the school, when he was approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors, Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The Board of Governors also appointed Holloway as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Holloway will begin serving as president on July 1, succeeding President Robert Barchi, who began his tenure in September 2012.

Holloway, 52, 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.

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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 also is a professor of History and African American studies, specializing in post-emancipation social and intellectual United States history.

“Jonathan 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,” said Rutgers Board of Governors Chair Mark Angelson who also chaired the presidential search committee.

“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.

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

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.

“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.

“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.”

Holloway is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002) and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013), both published by the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (NYU Press, 2005) and coedited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He wrote the introduction for the 2015 edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk (Yale University Press), has submitted a survey tentatively titled “The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of the African American Past” for Oxford University Press and is working on a new book, A History of Absence: Race and the Making of the Modern World.

Watch President-Designate Jonathan Holloway’full remarks to the boards

He 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.

Holloway is an elected member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians.

Holloway is married to Aisling Colón. They have a daughter, Emerson, and son, Ellison.

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