First African American President of Rutgers

First African American President of Rutgers

Churchill alum named president of Rutgers University.


Jonathan Holloway, provost of Northwestern University and an eminent historian, has been appointed Rutgers University's 21st president. Holloway is a graduate of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac.

Jonathan Holloway, a 1985 graduate of Winston Churchill High School, was named president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on Jan. 21.

The announcement of Holloway’s appointment was reported in the University’s official news source, Rutgers Today. It read:

“The Rutgers Board of Governors, with the advice and consent of the Rutgers Board of Trustees, today approved Holloway’s appointment at a joint meeting of the two boards. The Board of Governors also appointed Holloway as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.”

Holloway, Rutgers’ first black president, will begin his appointment on July 1, succeeding President Robert Barchi, who began his tenure in September 2012.”

Holloway is married to Aisling Colón, also a Churchill graduate. They have two children, a daughter, Emerson, and son, Ellison.

Holloway, 52, has served as Northwestern University, [Evanston, IL] provost since 2017. He is Northwestern’s chief academic officer, overseeing educational policies and academic priorities, preparation of the annual budget and faculty appointments and promotions at the Big Ten institution which includes a highly ranked medical school and numerous other nationally and internationally recognized educational programs.

Before moving to Northwestern, Holloway 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.

“Jonathan Holloway is an extraordinarily distinguished scholar with an outstanding record as an academic administrator at Northwestern and Yale. 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,” said Mark Angelson, Rutgers Board of Governors Chair who also chaired the presidential search committee. “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.”

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.

“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.

“Bob Barchi’s extraordinary leadership has helped place Rutgers among the preeminent public universities in the world,” he added. “I cannot wait to help write the next chapter in the history of this magnificent institution.”

Holloway serves on 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.

He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians.

Holloway was a member of the Churchill Bulldogs football team while a student there and also played as an undergraduate at Stanford, but said he did not quite make the grade on the gridiron. In an interview with Northwestern’s student newspaper, according to Adam Clark writing for NJ Advance Media, Holloway said, “I was a hot shot recruit who ended up being a complete scrub when I got there. In my senior year, I wasn’t even on the depth chart anymore.”