CAMDEN, NJ — Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway today announced that Antonio D. Tillis will assume the post of chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden on July 1.
“Antonio Tillis is a brilliant scholar and gifted administrator whose commitment to the transformative power of higher education presents an exceptional opportunity for both Rutgers and New Jersey. We are proud that he will lead Rutgers University-Camden,” Holloway said.
“Rutgers is deeply invested in bringing opportunity and growth to Camden. Antonio Tillis will be a driving force in helping Rutgers University and the City of Camden reach new heights,” Holloway added.
Tillis, 55, will lead Rutgers University-Camden, the southernmost campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, with more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 39 undergraduate and 29 graduate programs.
Nationally recognized for its commitment to access for first-generation students, as well as its innovative civic engagement programs, Rutgers-Camden recently achieved status as a Carnegie National R2 Research University.
“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to lead an institution as engaged, diverse, and student-centered as Rutgers University-Camden,” Tillis said. “This is an outstanding university that clearly demonstrates its commitment to public values and to building upon its tradition as a place of access for first-generation college students seeking a world-class Rutgers degree, and the opportunities that come with that degree.”
“I am a first-generation college student. I understand what drives Rutgers-Camden students. It’s not just about them – their success is also about the elevation of their families and their communities,” Tillis said. “I look forward to working with these students to help them take full advantage of the opportunities before them and to make sure they are supported.”
“It is especially important that Rutgers-Camden students learn with, and are mentored by, a truly impressive faculty who consistently are at the vanguard of generating new ideas to improve our society,” added Tillis.
“I am very excited to work with the academic enterprise to cultivate the support it needs to thrive as a research institution, which will provide our students with unparalleled learning opportunity while firmly defining both Camden and southern New Jersey as a nexus for innovation,” Tillis said.
Frank Hundley, chair of the Rutgers–Camden Board of Directors and a member of the Rutgers University Board of Governors, welcomed Tillis saying he is “a scholar who brings a wealth of knowledge, talent, and excitement to our campus and will take Rutgers’ presence in South Jersey and the Philadelphia region to unprecedented heights.”
Most recently, Tillis was interim president of the University of Houston–Downtown, a comprehensive urban institution offering more than 50 degree programs and serving more than 15,000 students. Also, at the University of Houston, he served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the largest of its 15 academic and professional colleges.
Tillis was previously the dean of the School of Languages, Culture, and World Affairs at the College of Charleston in South Carolina; he chaired the Department of African and African American Studies at Dartmouth College; and served as inaugural director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at Purdue University, where he received the 2007 Faculty Scholar Award.
In 2009, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil.
Tillis, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in Spanish literature from Howard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American literature, with an Afro-Hispanic emphasis, from the University of Missouri at Columbia.