T he Board of Trustees recently elected a new Chancellor and they found him in the most unlikely of places – Nebraska.  The Board unanimously voted in former President of the University of Nebraska, James B. Miliken, 56; he will replace Matthew Goldstein starting June 1st.

JB Miliken graduated from Nebraska University and after earning his law degree at New York University he served with the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Division, Chelsea Neighborhood Branch, and later as an attorney with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft until 1988.  He also has years of experience serving on state, national and international levels – he recently represented the United States in the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogues conference in New Delhi with Secretary of State John Kerry.

While CUNY has seen an expansion over the past few years, along with growing graduation rates and increased academic standards, Miliken will be faced with tensions surrounding former Chancellor Goldstein’s push for the “common core”, and as the New York Times wrote, “large pockets of impoverished and academically lagging students”.  But perhaps Miliken is the solution to CUNY’s problems.

As President of NU, Miliken oversaw the school’s four main campuses, 50,000 students, 13,000 faculty and staff, and operated with an annual budget of $2.3 billion.  Under his leadership, NU reached a 20-year high enrollment rate of 50,705 as well as record high donations of $236.7 million.  His resume from NU alone is impressive and encouraging.  (For more details see http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2014/01/16/and-the-next-cuny-chancellor-is-james-milliken-of-the-university-of-nebraska/)

Although the Board of Trustees voted unanimously (14-to-0), there are some still skeptical – not so much of his abilities but background.  Although Miliken attended NYU and lived in New York City for nearly a decade, he is not a native New Yorker.  As frivolous as that may be, CUNY students can be some of the most territorial and proud of New Yorkers.  Another point of interest – and what may be contention – is Miliken’s salary, which is a whopping $670,000 plus a university car and residence.  Perhaps that is the price of success for the CUNY system though – time will only tell.

Regardless of James Miliken’s birthplace and salary, City College and the CUNY community should welcome him with open arms.  He has an impressive and successful background and appears to be energetic and eager to make this system thrive.  His experience both in the private sector and previous school communities should prove fruitful with our support.

City College welcomes you, Chancellor Miliken!

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