Ivy Taylor, former mayor of San Antonio and a graduate of UNC City Planning, has just been appointed as President of Rust College. Rust College is the oldest Historic Black College in Mississippi. Taylor, a native of Queens, New York, was the first African American elected to lead San Antonio and will be the first woman to lead the historically black, private liberal arts college located near Memphis, Tennessee.
Taylor defended her doctoral dissertation on leadership for historically black colleges and universities and will receive her doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania in August.
While mayor, Taylor negotiated agreements with ride share companies, brokered a labor agreement with the police union, launched a planning effort, and brought My Brother’s Keeper – an initiative aimed at providing you men of color educational and career opportunities – to the city. Prior to becoming mayor, Taylor was a representative on the city council and interim mayor. Taking what she learned when earning her master’s in City and Urban Planning at Carolina, she worked as vice president of affordable housing agency Merced Housing Texas, served as a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy and on the board of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, and currently works as a consultant with J.L. Powers & Associates.
She told San Antonio’s Rivard Report, “I always described my personal mission as ‘connecting people to opportunity.’ I kinda got off on the elected office track from my work in affordable housing. Connecting people opportunities was about making places better, making places stronger. But I had a light bulb moment…I realized I wanted to be closer to strengthening people. Higher education, I feel, is the best way to do that.”
Rust College is also where Ida B. Wells studied. Born a slave, Wells went on to become an investigative journalist, educator, an early leader in the civil rights movement and one of the founders of the NAACP. In this year’s Pulitzer ceremony, she was named a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize citation for her skills as a journalist. Wells inspired two other UNC graduates, Nikole Hannah Jones and Ron Nixon, to found the Ida B. Wells Society at UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism.