By John Gordon
The University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees has concluded its executive search with the selection of Ronald Mason, Jr. as the new president. Mason will succeed Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., who has served as interim president of the University of the District of Columbia since March 2013. His presidency becomes effective on July 1.
The Board-appointed search committee, co-chaired by alumnus Trustee Joseph L. Askew, Jr. and Trustee Major General Errol R. Schwartz identified Mason from a field of 91 applicants for the position. In making the announcement, Board Chair Elaine A. Crider described Mason as a proven, highly motivated and accomplished higher education professional who is exceptionally and uniquely suited to build upon the successes that the University has achieved during Interim President Lyon’s tenure.
“The president-elect has proven himself a leader in the higher education community in many parts of the country." She said, "Ron Mason has brought enhanced community relationships, responsible governance, and a strong students-first focus to his past roles and will do the same for our University as we continue to implement our Vision 2020 strategic plan.”
In learning of the appointment, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the Board’s selection of Mason to lead the University. “I welcome Ronald Mason to the District of Columbia and look forward to collaborating to develop programs and initiatives that will better serve residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “I congratulate the board of the University of the District of Columbia for selecting a leader with a wealth of experience as they work to transform the District’s public university.”
Mason, currently serves as president of Southern University and A&M College System, is the Chief Executive Officer and provides oversight for the system's five campuses. He will bring some 30 years of experience in the higher education, community development, and legal fields to the University of the District of Columbia.
Before joining the Southern University System, Mason was President of Jackson State University (MS). While there, Jackson State experienced unprecedented growth, much in keeping with a university-wide strategic plan. The campus also saw growth in fundraising, information technology capability, and the construction of new buildings.
Mason also established a record of success during 18 years at Tulane University where he served in several positions, including Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Vice President for Finance and Operations. Earlier, he served as the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for the Urban Community at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans.
A native of New Orleans, Mason has B.A. and J.D. degrees from Columbia University (NY), and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management. He is married to the former Belinda DeCuir and has one daughter, Nia, and two sons, Jared and Kenan.