What brings a renowned professor and university leader to Rutgers? For Jonathan Holloway — who was formally announced as Rutgers University’s next president Tuesday afternoon — it is the chance to add to the school’s legacy.
“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.
Holloway, provost of Northwestern University and an eminent historian, will begin his tenure as the 21st president of Rutgers on July 1. The board of governors also appointed Holloway as a university professor and distinguished professor.
On Tuesday, Holloway gave thanks to the university’s outgoing president.
“Bob Barchi’s extraordinary leadership has helped place Rutgers among the preeminent public universities in the world,” Holloway said. “I cannot wait to help write the next chapter in the history of this magnificent institution.”
Holloway, 52, has served as Northwestern’s provost since 2017. Prior to that, he 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.
This rich history as both a leader and a professor attracted Rutgers board of governors Chair Mark Angelson, who led the presidential search committee.
“Jonathan Holloway is an extraordinarily distinguished scholar with an outstanding record as an academic administrator at Northwestern and Yale,” Angelson said. “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.”
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.
At Northwestern, he serves as chief academic officer, overseeing educational policies and academic priorities, preparation of the annual budget; and faculty appointments and promotions. Northwestern has a highly ranked medical school and numerous other nationally and internationally recognized educational programs.
Holloway is a noted author and editor.
He wrote “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).
He edited Ralph Bunche’s “A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership” (2005) and co-edited “Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century” (2007).
In addition, he wrote the introduction for the 2015 edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Souls of Black Folk,” 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.”
Holloway is an elected member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians.
He currently serves on the 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 was selected following a search by the 23-member presidential search committee, comprising broad representation from the universitywide community, including students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of university boards. It received more than 200 nominations and applications.
“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,” Angelson said.
The selection by the Rutgers board of governors was made with the advice and consent of the Rutgers board of trustees.
Holloway is married to Aisling Colón. They have a daughter, Emerson, and son, Ellison.
Holloway is the first person of color to serve as president of Rutgers.