Nancy Cantor

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Nancy Cantor
2nd Chancellor of
Rutgers University–Newark
Assumed office
Preceded bySteven Diner
11th Chancellor of
Syracuse University
In office
Preceded byKenneth Shaw
Succeeded byKent Syverud
7th Chancellor of the
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
In office
Preceded byMichael Aiken
Succeeded byRichard Herman
Personal details
Born (1952-02-04) February 4, 1952 (age 66)
Alma materSarah Lawrence College
Stanford University
ProfessionProfessor, University administrator
Academic work

Nancy Cantor is the chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, in Newark, New Jersey.


She received her A.B. in 1974 from Sarah Lawrence College and her Ph.D. in psychology in 1978 from Stanford University. Previously, Cantor served as chancellor at Syracuse University, provost at the University of Michigan, and chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cantor is married to sociology professor Steven R. Brechin, who teaches at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Cantor is widely recognized for helping forge a new understanding of the role of universities in society that re-emphasizes their public mission.[1] She is responsible for the development of Syracuse University’s vision, Scholarship in Action, emphasizing the role of the university as a public good. A central aspect of the pursuit of this vision is cross-sector collaboration in the City of Syracuse that has won acclaim locally and nationally.[2] This includes the university's having been named among the first institutions to earn the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's classification as a university committed to Community Engagement, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York's having granted Cantor the 2008 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award.

Cantor has been an advocate for racial and gender equality in colleges. She was a key player at the University of Michigan's case of affirmative action in the cases of Grutter and Gratz, which were decided by the Supreme Court in 2003. The Supreme Court ruled against the University of Michigan in the latter case, holding that their policies of affirmative action were unconstitutional. Cantor lectures and writes extensively on the role of universities as anchor institutions in their communities, along with other issues in higher education such as rewarding public scholarship, sustainability, liberal education and the creative campus, the status of women in the academy, and racial justice and diversity.

A social psychologist, Cantor is recognized for her scholarly contributions to the understanding of how individuals perceive and think about their social worlds, pursue personal goals, and how they regulate their behavior to adapt to life's most challenging social environments. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, she is the author of numerous books, chapters, and scientific journal articles. She has received the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Woman of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the Making a Difference for Women Award from the National Council for Research on Women, the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, and the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Diversity Leadership Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Among the boards of which Chancellor Cantor is a member are the American Institutes for Research, the New York Academy of Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Say Yes to Education, in addition to being past chair of the board of directors of the American Association for Higher Education and former chair of the board of the American Council on Education. She is an Honorary Trustee of the American Psychological Foundation and was national co-chair of Imagining America's Tenure Team Initiative. She also serves as co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, a post to which she was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.


  1. ^ Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steven Dunn (2012). The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
  2. ^ The Post-Standard Editorial Board (October 16, 2012). "Engaged Chancellor: Cantor will leave a campus and city transformed". The Post-Standard. Syracuse. Retrieved November 27, 2012.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Michael Aiken
Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2001 - 2004
Succeeded by
Richard Herman
Preceded by
Kenneth Shaw
Chancellor of Syracuse University
2004 - 2013
Succeeded by
Kent Syverud
Preceded by
Todd Clear, interim chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark
Chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark