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SIUE has a new chancellor, and he's breaking barriers

Dr. James T. Minor is the first Black person to assume the role

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has named thier 10th chancellor, and he's already breaking barriers, even before he officially starts.

His name is Dr. James T. Minor, a Black man. That makes him the university's first-ever Black chancellor. 

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees formally approved Dr. Minor to take the seat on Dec. 2. The appointment was announced in a Monday press release.

SIU President Dan Mahony, PhD, said in the release that what stands out most about Dr. Minor is his strong focus on student success. 

Jessica Harris, PhD, can second that. She is the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at SIUE and served as the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee Chair Executive in the search for candidates.

“Dr. Minor is a recognized thought leader in the field of higher education,” stated Harris. “Throughout his career, he has leveraged his scholarly expertise and professional experiences to support institutions with increasing their capacity to more effectively serve students."

Dr. Minor most recently served as the assistant vice chancellor and senior strategist at California State University, which recently posted the highest graduation rates in its history.

While there, he successfully advocated for hundreds of millions of dollars in support of graduation initiatives and served as principal investigator for $7.5 million in funded programs and research. 

Prior to that, Minor served as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education where he administered more than $7 billion in federal higher education programming.

James T. Minor, PhD, has been named the 10th Chancellor of SIUE. “Dr. Minor is a straightforward and innovative leader...

Posted by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Monday, November 29, 2021

However, Minor says he wants to do more than just break barriers. 

"It hadn't occurred to me that would be part of the narrative associated with my appointment," he wrote in the release. "I'm certainly very proud, but I am interested in my appointment being more than a historical fact. I fully recognize the significance of that, but now I think that must be converted into realizing greater inclusion in the university and it being symbolically understood as a place for everyone in the state and beyond to be welcomed and accomplish their educational goals."

Words staff used in the release to describe Dr. Minor included: straightforward, innovative, collaborative, mission-driven, and equity-minded. All qualities SIUE was looking for in their next leader.

“As I reflect on the university’s present and look to the future, the times beckon for inspired, bold, and decisive leadership,” Harris added. “Much progress and growth has occurred at SIUE these last several years; however, challenges remain. I am confident that with Dr. Minor’s leadership, the best is yet to come for SIUE and I look forward to his arrival.”

READ: Student accuses SIUE fraternity of racist, homophobic slurs

Minor will take over as Chancellor starting March 1 of next year. 

He succeeds Randy Pembrook, who served as chancellor since August 2016 before announcing his retirement in May 2021, effective in 2022.

To read more on Dr. Minor and his background, click here.