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Rutgers Names First Black President in University History

What to Know

  • Rutgers University named a high-ranking Northwestern University official as its new leader on Tuesday, making him the school's first black president
  • Jonathan Holloway, 52, will start his new job on July 1 after receiving approval from the Rutgers Board of Governors
  • He will be the 21st president of New Jersey's flagship university, succeeding Robert Barchi, who has led Rutgers since September 2012.

Rutgers University named a high-ranking Northwestern University official as its new leader on Tuesday, making him the school's first black president.

Jonathan Holloway, 52, will start his new job on July 1 after receiving approval from the Rutgers Board of Governors. He will be the 21st president of New Jersey's flagship university, succeeding Robert Barchi, who has led Rutgers since September 2012.

In a packed Board of Governors' meeting, Holloway swelled with emotion as he accepted the position.

"Mom, I got the job," he said teary-eyed.

Holloway is the first African-American to hold the post in Rutgers' history -- a university built on the backs of slave labor.

"Rutgers has demonstrated the maturity to recognize its history," Holloway said. "History -- we shouldn't be afraid of it -- we should be able to confront it and recognize the challenges in our past and recognize the ways that we have become better."

University students welcomed Holloway's appointment, with one saying that it is "important to have diversity."

Holloway, a married father of two, has served as Northwestern's provost since 2017. Before that, he was the dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies at the Ivy League school.

Holloway received a Bachelor's degree with honors in American Studies from Stanford University and a doctorate in history from Yale. 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.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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