June 22, 2009 | News from the Chancellor
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today announced the appointment of Dr. William L. Pollard, the former President of the University of the District of Columbia, as president of Medgar Evers College. The appointment was made at the recommendation of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein following a nationwide search for a successor to President Edison O. Jackson, who recently announced his retirement after 20 years of distinguished service.
In a joint statement, Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Matthew Goldstein stated: “Dr. Pollard has held virtually all the major positions in the academy, including faculty member, department chair, dean and college president. He brings to this important leadership post extraordinary experience, an exemplary record of promoting academic standards, and a commitment to student opportunity and success.”
Dr. Pollard received his doctorate in policy and planning from the University of Chicago School of Social Administration in 1976, where the members of his dissertation committee included the late John Hope Franklin, the brilliant historian and educator who, in 1956, became the first African-American department chair at a major college when he was named chairman of Brooklyn College’s history department. Dr. Pollard’s dissertation was entitled “Black Welfare Developments in the Southeast, 1890 – 1915.” Dr. Pollard earned his M.S.W. from the University of North Carolina School of Social Work, and a B.A. from Shaw University. He is married to Merriette Chance Pollard and they have two sons, William L. Pollard II and Frederick Touissaint Pollard.
Dr. Pollard most recently served as vice president for the Office of Access and the Advancement of Public Black Colleges and Universities for the National Association for State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. In that post during 2007 – 2008, Dr. Pollard worked to promote public universities, especially the 1890s land grant institutions which provided for the education and training of African-Americans in the South.
He was president of the University of the District of Columbia, the only public university in Washington, D.C. and the nation’s only urban land grant university, from 2002 to 2007. Prior to that he was the dean and founder of the Syracuse University College of Human Services and Health Professions, where he was responsible for creating a new entity uniting the College of Nursing, College of Human Development and the School of Social Work.
The committee that selected Dr. Pollard after a national search was chaired by Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson Philip Berry, and was comprised of trustees, faculty, students, alumni and a CUNY college president. Dr. Pollard was selected from a candidate pool that University officials described as among the highest quality in CUNY’s history.
With a career in both public and private higher education spanning more than 40 years, Dr. Pollard succeeds Dr. Edison O. Jackson, who served as president of Medgar Evers College since 1989. At today’s meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution expressing its “heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Edison O. Jackson for his exemplary dedication and distinguished service to both Medgar Evers College and The City University of New York.”
As president of the University of the District of Columbia, Dr. Pollard established a student counseling center to provide academic and mental health counseling that is credited with significantly increasing student success and retention. Dr. Pollard was also instrumental in obtaining a $3 million allocation from former District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams that permitted the recruitment and hiring of new faculty in areas of greatest need. He also developed strong alumni and community involvement with the university.
Dr. Pollard began his tenure at Syracuse University in 1989, serving as dean of the Syracuse University School of Social Work for 10 years, where he led the School in its development of a student-centered program. He then became the founding dean of the School of Human Services and Health Professions until he left for the University of the District of Columbia in 2002. Prior to that he served as dean and founder of the Grambling State University School of Social Work from 1984 – 1989. In 1976, Dr. Pollard joined the University of Pittsburgh, where he went on to be named the coordinator of the Community Organization Skills Set at the University.
Dr. Pollard has been an active member of the District of Columbia community. He served on the Board of Directors of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2006, and served on the advisory boards of the Federal City Council and the D.C. Board of Trade. Dr. Pollard was also a trustee at John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in Washington, D.C. Nationally he is a member of the Board of Directors of American Humanics of Kansas City, a trustee at Livingstone College, and was an active member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
Dr. Pollard’s many awards and honors include the Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers, Central New York Chapter, recognition as co-founder of the Syracuse Onondaga Dialog on Race and the Citizen of the Year Award from Temple Adath Yeshurun. He has published numerous articles and papers in professional journals and lectured extensively on cultural and racial diversity in venues across the country.
Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 and named for the martyred civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers. Located in central Brooklyn, the college offers high quality professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in conjunction with a liberal arts education. With an enrollment of more than 6,300 students, an all-time high, Medgar Evers offers 18 baccalaureate degrees as well as seven associate degrees.
The college recently occupied a new 40,000-square foot building that houses its School of Business and Student Services. Construction of a “state-of-the-art” Academic Complex I, the future home of Medgar Evers’ School of Science, Health and Technology, is underway with occupancy expected in 2010. In accordance with its motto, “Creating Success, One Student at a Time,” Medgar Evers College has a distinguished and dedicated faculty that is committed to providing access, facilitating learning, and ensuring the success of the college’s students in the pursuit of their educational, career and personal goals.