Nancy Cantor named president of Hunter College

Rutgers-Newark chancellor was not renewed for post, despite significant protest from many in Newark community, where she was highly regarded

Nancy Cantor, the subject of a firestorm of protest in her support when it was announced last summer that she would not be renewed as the chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark, was announced Wednesday as the new president of Hunter College in New York City.

She will begin the role Aug. 12.

The news release announcing her hiring suggests she brings a wealth of experience and a steadfast commitment to student success and social mobility. It also calls her a distinguished leader in higher education, boasting a career spanning over four decades, marked by notable achievements and a tireless dedication to advancing educational opportunities.

It is for those reasons and more that there was an uproar in the Newark higher education, business and political community when it was announced last August that she would not be retained.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was among dozens offering their support at the time.

“To discard Chancellor Cantor is taking two steps backwards,” he said then. “It disrupts a long and hard-fought progress that Newark is journeying on. It flies in the face of the collective work that we have been doing many times with Chancellor Cantor’s insistence, her commitment and sheer will.

“Therefore, I, along with the following group of leaders dedicated to improving our city, implore the university to reconsider its decision to replace Chancellor Cantor. It would be a grave error.”

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway did not reverse the decision.

Cantor, 71, came to Newark 10 years ago (she started in January 2014) after having served previously as provost at the University of Michigan, chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and chancellor and president at Syracuse University.

In addition to her time at Syracuse, she has other connections to New York state, as both of her parents are City University of New York alumni.

Hunter College President Ann Kirschner expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming collaboration with Cantor, emphasizing their shared commitment to advancing Hunter College’s mission. Together, she said, they plan to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, ensuring the institution remains at the forefront of educational excellence.