Chancellor-Elect Nancy Cantor


Nancy Cantor Named
SU’s 11th Chancellor


Nancy Cantor sees Syracuse University as a vibrant, energetic institution that can make a difference. “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,” she says. “It demonstrates an extraordinary combination of excellence in the professions and in liberal education. 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 will build on this vision as the 11th Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. The first woman in the University’s 134-year history to hold the chancellorship, she succeeds Kenneth A. Shaw, who will retire from the position August 1. Since 2001, Cantor has been the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a public land grant institution that is the state’s largest university, with more than 38,000 students, 1,900 faculty, and 5,500 staff. She previously served as a department chair at Princeton University, and as dean of the graduate school and then provost and executive vice president at the University of Michigan.

Cantor is also a preeminent scholar in social and personality psychology. At SU, she will be a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her husband, Steven Brechin, an environmental sociologist, will join the faculty as a professor of sociology at the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences. They have two children, Maddy, 18, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and Archie, 14.

“I am confident we have 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 Board of Trustees Chair Joseph O. Lampe ’53, G’55, who led the Chancellor’s Search Committee. Lampe announced Cantor’s appointment at a news conference on campus February 6, following a Board of Trustees meeting that morning in New York City, where her nomination was unanimously approved.

“I couldn’t be happier with the selection of Dr. Cantor,” Chancellor Shaw says. “She is a distinguished educator and perfect for Syracuse University at this time in its history.”

The New York City native received a bachelor’s degree in 1974 from Sarah Lawrence College (where she is now a trustee) and earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1978. She is 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 has written or collaborated on 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.
She 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 and National Science Foundation committees and on the board of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. Her national service has included leadership roles on several committees and commissions examining the future of the nation’s science and engineering workforce.

Nationally known for her support of liberal learning and civic engagement, Cantor speaks passionately about higher education’s role in preparing students to live and work in a multiracial democracy. She played a leading role in defending affirmative action in lawsuits against the University of Michigan. She serves on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education (which she chaired in 2002-03), the National Survey of Student Engagement, the American Council on Education, and several other organizations, and is a member of the executive committee of the Association of American Universities. She also is active with arts organizations and in her local community, seeking to enhance economic development and the quality of life.

“It’s clear to me that Syracuse University is a place on the move—one that knows its strengths and will readily partner with other scholars and institutions, community organizations, political leaders, alumni, and friends to create knowledge and change lives,” Cantor says. “I couldn’t be happier that I will soon be calling it home.”

—Sandi Tams Mulconry



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