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Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, named 11th Chancellor and President of Syracuse University
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, named 11th Chancellor and President of Syracuse UniversityFebruary 06, 2004Sandi Mulconrysandi@groupmcom.com
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named the 11th Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. The announcement was made today by Joseph O. Lampe, chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Chancellor’s Search Committee, at a midday news conference in Syracuse.
The announcement followed a morning meeting of the Board of Trustees in New York City, where 32 members unanimously approved Cantor’s selection. By Board statutes, a quorum, or 26 votes, is needed to elect a new Chancellor.
Cantor has held a variety of administrative positions encompassing all aspects of a research university-from department chair at Princeton, to dean of the graduate school and then provost and executive vice president at Michigan, to chancellor at Illinois. She will succeed Kenneth A. “Buzz” Shaw, who will retire Aug. 1 after having served as Syracuse’s Chancellor and President for 13 years.
“I am confident that we’ve chosen the ideal person to carry forward the vision of Chancellor Shaw and the Board of Trustees and take the University to the next level,” says Lampe. “Dr. Cantor was the unanimous choice of our 21-person search committee.”
In addition to her administrative appointment, Cantor has been named Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies in The College of Arts and Sciences. Her husband, Steven Brechin, an environmental sociologist, has been named professor of sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and The College of Arts and Sciences.
“Dr. Cantor brings a wealth of experience and talent to this position,” says John Couri, chair-elect of the Board of Trustees, who assumes the chairmanship in May. “We are thrilled to have her, and I look forward to working with her in the years to come.”
“I couldn’t be happier with Dr. Cantor’s selection,” says Chancellor Shaw. “She is a distinguished educator and perfect for Syracuse University at this time in its history.”
Cantor has been Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since July 2001. A public land grant institution, UIUC is the state’s largest university, with 38,291 total students, 1,908 faculty and 5,500 staff. Under her leadership, the campus has identified for strategic investment 10 multidisciplinary areas of emphasis in scholarly research, teaching and public engagement. She also has worked with colleagues at Illinois to create a leadership example of a great public research university committed to the synergy between diversity and excellence.
“Over the last decade, Syracuse has positioned itself to be at the cutting edge of preparing students to be citizens of a technologically intensive, globally interconnected and demographically changing world,” says Cantor. “It demonstrates an extraordinary combination of excellence in the professions-from Maxwell to Newhouse to Information Studies to VPA to Architecture-and in liberal education-from philosophy to creative writing to bioengineering to geography, among other disciplines.
“The size and diversity of the institution, its student-centered philosophy and engagement with the world, and its collaborative spirit of public interest speak to a readiness to make a difference-locally, across the state and across the globe-in the arts, the sciences, the professions and, most excitingly, at their intersection.”
Cantor is a distinguished scholar in social and personality psychology, widely recognized for her contributions to the understanding of how individuals perceive and think about their social world, pursue personal goals across the life course, and regulate their behavior to adapt to life’s many challenging social environments. She is co-author or co-editor of three books, and author or co-author of some 90 book chapters and journal articles.
Cantor’s scholarly accomplishments have garnered her many awards and honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Early in her career, she received the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Personality), and last week she received the Service Award on Behalf of the Disciplines from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology for sustained contributions to the advancement of personality and social psychology.
Cantor is a tireless advocate for the role of the social and behavioral sciences in addressing society’s critical issues, and has served on various National Research Council (NRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) committees and on the board of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. At NSF, she was instrumental in the decision to create a directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, serving on the initiating task force and the directorate’s advisory council and chairing the current search for an assistant director.
Her national service has included leadership roles on several committees and commissions examining the future of the nation’s science and engineering workforce. She has served on the NRC Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Research Personnel, as vice chair of the NRC’s Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, and on a Congressional Commission on Military Training and Gender-Related Issues.
Cantor speaks and writes frequently on higher education issues of relevance to society. She played a leading role as provost and as a social scientist in defending affirmative action in the Michigan lawsuits and speaks passionately about the contributions that can be made by higher education in preparing students to live and work in a multiracial democracy.
A native New Yorker who was a ballet dancer until the age of 18, Cantor earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974 at Sarah Lawrence College, where she first developed an appreciation for liberal learning and interdisciplinary work. In 1978, she earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford University.
She is nationally known for her support of liberal learning and civic engagement, serving on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education (which she chaired in 2002-03), the National Survey of Student Engagement, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ National Advisory Council for the Institute of Liberal Education & Civic Engagement. She also is a trustee of Sarah Lawrence College; serves on the board of the American Council on Education; and serves on the executive committee of the Association of American Universities.
Cantor has worked with arts organizations and the Imagining America Consortium to enhance the role played by the arts in strengthening our democracy. She also is active in her local community in collaborations to enhance economic development and the quality of life, having served as founding chair of the Success by Six Leadership Council, a business-university alliance with the United Way of Champaign County aimed at improving the health, well-being and achievement of young children.
Cantor and Brechin have two children, Maddy, 18, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Archie, 14, who is eagerly anticipating the family’s move to Syracuse.