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Cantor chosen by Rutgers University-Newark for focus on diversity, community engagement

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the search committee chair’s name and title were misstated. The committee chair is Wendell Pritchett, and he is the chancellor of Rutgers-Camden. The Daily Orange regrets this error. 

After months of searching for the perfect candidate, Rutgers University’s Newark campus chancellor search committee deemed Nancy Cantor the ideal person to lead the university due to her work on diversifying higher education and her ability to engage university communities.

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced Cantor’s appointment on June 20. Cantor will become chancellor of the Newark campus beginning Jan. 1.

The search began in January and was led by R. William Funk & Associates, an executive search firm, said Wendell Pritchett, chair of the search committee. Several members of the university’s faculty and administration were on the committee, according to the university’s website.

William Funk, president of the search firm, knew Cantor for many years and immediately approached the committee about considering her for the position because he believed she was qualified, Pritchett said. Funk then put together a large pool of candidates, which included Cantor and other higher education professionals, Pritchett said.

“Out of all the candidates we met with, we were most excited about Nancy,” said Pritchett, who is also the chancellor of Rutgers-Camden. “She’s nationally and internationally known, has led a great urban university and is a skilled thinker in how universities can connect with their cities.”

Rutgers mentioned the creation of Syracuse University’s Scholarship in Action and Cantor’s leadership behind the $1 billion fundraising campaign as an impressive reflection of her commitment to making SU more diverse and accessible, according to a June 20 Rutgers-Newark release.

Ranked as the nation’s most diverse university campus by U.S. News and World Report, Rutgers-Newark describes itself as an urban research university that works closely with its local community, according to the release.

Drawing from those qualities, Barchi, the university president, said he admired Cantor’s commitment to accessibility and community engagement, according to the release.

Whether Cantor will create a program similar to Scholarship in Action at Rutgers-Newark is up to her, said Pritchett, the search committee chair. He added she will be meeting with people within and outside of Rutgers to discuss future plans, some centered on strengthening the university’s relationship with the city of Newark.

Said Pritchett: “Nancy has led many distinguished universities, so she’s made the transition many times before. I’m sure the transition will be smooth.”

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