Robert J. Jones has been appointed chancellor of the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois. The flagship campus enrolls nearly 33,000 undergraduate students and more than 12,000 graduate students. African Americans are 5 percent of the undergraduate student body.
Dr. Jones will also serve as a vice president for the three-campus University of Illinois system and as a tenured professor in the department of crop science in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. Since 2013, he has been serving as president of the University at Albany of the State University of New York System. Earlier, he spent 34 years in faculty and administrative posts at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Jones is scheduled to begin his new job on October 3. When he takes office, he will be the first African American to hold the chancellor position.
The son of a Georgia sharecropper, Dr. Jones earned his bachelor’s degree at historically Black Fort Valley State University. There, he majored in agronomy. Professor Jones holds a master’s degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of Missouri.