Appointment of Nancy Cantor as Rutgers–Newark Chancellor

June 20, 2013

Members of the Rutgers Community:

At today’s meeting of the Board of Governors, I introduced Dr. Nancy Cantor as the new Chancellor of Rutgers-Newark, effective January 1, 2014. 

Dr. Cantor is completing her nine-year tenure as the Chancellor and President of Syracuse University.  Her professional career is founded on the belief that the work of the modern research university must extend beyond its traditional boundaries to tackle the “‘messy’ intractable problems that are best addressed through many disciplines with many partners, on campus and off.”  Leading a university-wide initiative called Scholarship in Action, she has spearheaded efforts to promote the university’s engagement in the community by promoting neighborhood entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, and school reform.  She has demonstrated a deep dedication to higher education’s public mission, for which the Carnegie Corporation recognized her with its Academic Leadership Award, and I am pleased that she is bringing her experience and passion to the Rutgers-Newark Campus.

Through the Scholarship in Action program, Chancellor Cantor has developed an institutional model that demonstrates how public and private research universities can act both as engines of prosperity and, perhaps more importantly, as agents of social mobility and social change.  In addition to helping to break down academic and organizational silos to address complex problems and issues, the Scholarship in Action program focuses on providing real world learning environments for students, creating “Education for the World, in the World.”  Moreover, Chancellor Cantor has been responsive to the realities and pressures facing today’s institutions of higher education and is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for first-generation students, the children of newly immigrated families, veterans returning from service, and the students who are now in often under-resourced inner-city and rural schools.

Nancy Cantor earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University.  An internationally recognized social psychologist, she is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her research projects and initiatives have received support from the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  As an acclaimed scholar and academic, she has been asked to serve on several national panels, including the National Research Council Advisory Committee for the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel and the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering.

Prior to serving as Chancellor and President of Syracuse University, Dr. Cantor was Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She has also served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan, Dean of Michigan’s School of Graduate Studies, and Chair of the Psychology Department at Princeton University.  At Michigan, she was closely involved in the university’s defense of affirmative action in the Grutter and Gratz cases.  She is a leading voice on diversity and inclusion, and she is a frequent writer and speaker on the role of universities as anchor institutions in their communities.

I would like to thank the search committee, led by its chair, Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett, and vice chair, Professor Norma Riccucci of the School of Public Affairs and Administration.  The committee produced a stellar pool of candidates for this vital leadership position.

Because Chancellor Cantor will not arrive until January 2014, I have appointed Dr. Todd Clear, currently Dean of the School of Criminal Justice, to serve as Interim Chancellor for Rutgers-Newark for the period from July 1 to December 31, 2013.  Dean Clear has been both an effective dean and a strong leader on the Newark Campus, and he is an ideal candidate to fill this important position until Chancellor Cantor’s arrival.

Nancy Cantor’s career in higher education reflects the values we hold dear at Rutgers, including interdisciplinary research excellence, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and service to the communities of which we are a part.  She will provide outstanding leadership for Rutgers-Newark during our current period of transition, and I look forward to working with her.


Robert L. Barchi