23, No. 14, Feb. 19, 2004
Cantor to leave for top job at Syracuse
Nancy Cantor, chancellor
of the UI’s Urbana campus since 2001, has been named the 11th
chancellor and president of Syracuse University.
She succeeds Kenneth A. “Buzz” Shaw, who will retire Aug.
1 after having served as Syracuse’s chancellor and president for
“I am confident that we chose the ideal person to carry forward
the vision of Chancellor Shaw and the board of trustees and take [Syracuse]
to the next level,” said Joseph O. Lampe, chair of the chancellor’s
search committee and of the board of trustees.
“While I am disappointed to see her leave so soon and with so
much promise left on her agenda, we all recognize that this is a tremendous
opportunity for Nancy as she rises to the next plateau in her profession,”
said President James J. Stukel in a letter to colleagues.
Of her nearly three years at Illinois, Cantor said, “It’s
been a fabulous time.”
During her chancellorship, Cantor has enacted 11 cross-campus, interdisciplinary
initiatives with interests that encompass a wide range, from the behavior
of the cell to the effects of globalization, from creating art forms
to devising a system of food security.
The chancellor’s legacy at the Urbana campus also includes the
implementation of several programs affecting the health and welfare
of faculty, staff and their families, such as contraceptive coverage
for women, the Success by Six program and drop-in care and sick care
for children. Cantor also was one of the driving forces behind the university’s
decision to start a health coverage reimbursement program for same-sex
Several projects that Cantor pursued tirelessly are just getting under
way, such as construction of the Institute for Genomic Biology, the
relocation of the South Farms and the renovations to Lincoln Hall.
“Even though it’s only been three years, I’m being
flooded with messages and calls from people saying how much we’ve
accomplished,” Cantor said. “We’ve been able to bring
to the floor a number of possibilities at Illinois and to raise issues
for the campus to address, such as the nature of multiracial democracy
and the roles of the humanities and the arts.”
A distinguished scholar in social and personality psychology, Cantor
is widely recognized for her contributions to the understanding of how
individuals regulate their behavior to adapt to life’s many challenging
social environments. She is a co-author or a co-editor of three books,
and the author or a co-author of some 90 book chapters and journal articles.
Cantor received her bachelor’s degree in 1974 at Sarah Lawrence
College and earned her doctorate in psychology at Stanford in 1978.
Before coming to Illinois, Cantor was dean of the graduate school and
then provost and executive vice president at the University of Michigan.
“Syracuse is giving me a wonderful opportunity to lead a great
university,” she said. “As a native New Yorker, I think
Syracuse and I will be a good fit. Still, it was very difficult to make
the decision to leave Illinois.”
In addition to her administrative appointment, Cantor has been named
Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies in the
College of Arts and Sciences. Her husband, Steven Brechin, an environmental
sociologist, has been named professor of sociology in the Maxwell School
of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences.
for new president, chancellor
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
During a special
meeting on Feb. 19 at UIC, the UI Board of Trustees will meet with faculty
and staff members and students to gather input from the campus community
as the university begins the process of finding successors to President
James J. Stukel and Urbana Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who recently announced
At the meeting, the trustees will review the guidelines governing search
procedures for major administrative positions, which were developed
by a special board-appointed committee in 1991 and were reaffirmed by
the board during 2001 as it sought to fill the chancellorships at Urbana
and Chicago. If time allows, the board also may authorize use of a recruiting
firm, decide on the composition of a consultative committee to spearhead
the search and related matters, said board chairman Lawrence Eppley.
In all likelihood, the search for a new president will take precedence
and will continue throughout the summer, necessitating that Stukel appoint
an interim chancellor to take over when Cantor departs in July. During
the next few weeks, Stukel will be meeting with the Senate Executive
Committee, the chancellor’s administrative cabinet and the college
University officials and consultative committees conducting past searches
for high-ranking positions have kept the names of candidates confidential,
a policy that has elicited criticism from some constituents who believe
candidates competing for these positions should be identified and the
interview process made public as is required by law in some other states.
However, university officials say that confidentiality is critical because
high-profile candidates are often concerned that publicity might adversely
affect their careers, particularly if they are not successful in attaining
a position for which they have competed.
“We’re admonished in all of the literature that we read
that the people you really want can’t be disclosed,” Eppley
Law professor Thomas Ulen, who chaired the 13-member search committee
that sought a successor to Chancellor Michael Aiken in 2001, agreed,
saying that confidentiality attracts a broader range of candidates,
some of whom might not participate if their names were disclosed.
Accordingly, having a consultative committee whose membership is broadly
representative of the campus community coordinate the search helps ensure
that a wide range of candidates are considered, Ulen said.
In 2000-2001, the committee, whose members comprised two college deans,
students, faculty and staff members, reviewed about 100 candidates before
recommending Cantor and several other finalists to Stukel.