Chancellor choice Cartwright eyes challenges, touts diversity in Mizzou introduction

Alexander Cartwright, provost and executive vice chancellor of the State University of New York System, is the choice to serve as the next leader of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi introduced Cartwright as MU’s new chancellor on Wednesday.

Cartwright, whose official start date is Aug. 1, will take over a role that presents immediate challenges. His introduction comes about 18 months after the previous permanent chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, resigned amidst racial tension and student protests on the campus. Cartwright will take the helm of a university bracing for a smaller freshman class for the second straight year and facing steep budget and personnel cuts.

Cartwright said he would focus on creating a student-centric university that builds on existing efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion. He said the university was already doing the right things to move forward from the events of late 2015.

“Inclusion, diversity and equity is vital to prepare our students for a global workforce,” Cartwright said.

“Exposing students to different cultures and perspectives helps them to have a better understanding of our global economy. I feel particularly strongly that we have to strive for inclusive excellence.”

Cartwright said that he would support “open educational resources,” or freely accessible texts and other educational materials, as a means of ensuring a more affordable educational experience.

“We will make sure that our students have access to open educational resources to reduce the costs (to) attend this fine institution and to be successful,” he said.

A search committee selected Cartwright through a comprehensive national search, reaching out, the committee said, to 284 people in higher education, government and military, and business.

“Cartwright is an experienced, data-driven administrator with strong research credentials,” said Elizabeth Loboa, dean of MU’s College of Engineering and co-chair of the search committee. “He epitomizes what Mizzou stands for as a high intellect, high integrity leader.”

Cartwright received his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa. He has worked in academia for more than 30 years. With the SUNY System, he helped lead a university system with 64 campuses, nearly 1.3 million students, a total budget of $13.3 billion and more than 90,000 employees, according to a news release from the UM System.

Cartwright will start with an annual salary of $485,000.

“If I have a long run, it means that I have done a great job here,” Cartwright said. “I will be honored if I find out myself with Mizzou in 15 years from now.”

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