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UM System Names Top Academic Leader of Nation’s Largest University System, Internationally Recognized Researcher, as New Chancellor at the University of Missouri

State University of New York System Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Alexander Cartwright to lead Missouri’s AAU public research institution of higher education

May 24th, 2017

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System President Mun Choi today announced the appointment of Dr. Alexander Cartwright, provost and executive vice chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, as the new chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). Cartwright will officially begin serving as chancellor of the UM System’s largest campus on August 1, 2017.

President Choi made the announcement to the University community at a ceremony in the Great Room at Reynolds Alumni Center on the MU campus.

“Dr. Cartwright is joining the University of Missouri-Columbia at a pivotal time in our history,” Choi said.  “His leadership and accomplishments in the areas of research and creative works, student outcomes, economic development and access and inclusion will be the catalyst that leads MU to a new era of excellence. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Cartwright to lead transformative changes to meet our important mission.”

Dr. Cartwright’s extensive experience in public higher education includes serving as provost and executive vice president at the SUNY System, the nation’s largest comprehensive public university system with 64 campuses that serve nearly 1.3 million students. Since 2014, he has been responsible for directing academic policy and program planning and assessment; enrollment management; student success; global affairs; information technology; academic health and hospitals; diversity, equity and inclusion; and SUNY’s broad research enterprise. In this capacity, he has helped oversee a system with a total budget of $13.3 billion and over 90,000 employees. A sampling of key accomplishments under Dr. Cartwright’s leadership at SUNY include:

  • Strengthening the university’s $1 billion research enterprise, focused on meeting state and global challenges and creating a system infrastructure to support faculty innovation and the recruitment and retention of research faculty;
  • Seeing through to board adoption a comprehensive revision of the System’s patents and innovation policy to create a best-in-class environment for supporting research growth across the System and giving campuses greater flexibility in building academic/industry partnerships;
  • Developing a comprehensive Completion Agenda model, focused on the success of all students, driven by a specially designed educational effectiveness and strategic enrollment planning process, to meet SUNY’s ambitious goal of increasing student completions from 93,000 to 150,000 annually by 2025;
  • Leading the final stages of SUNY’s seamless transfer initiative resulting in board adoption of policy that supports more than 30,000 transfer students each year through 59 dynamic transfer paths covering more than 1,700 academic programs;
  • Ensuring faculty oversight of SUNY’s applied learning initiative through creation of the System-wide Applied Learning Steering Committee, work that resulted in the recent announcement that every SUNY student now has access to at least one applied learning experience;
  • Development and implementation of a sweeping diversity, equity and inclusion policy applicable to every campus and the System offices toward SUNY’s goal of becoming the most inclusive system in the nation; and
  • Establishing as priority a holistic approach to healthcare across SUNY – patient care, health professional education and training, academic program development and assessment, and innovative research and creating the System infrastructure to support it.

“The opportunity to become chancellor of one of the nation’s top public state universities is the chance of a lifetime,” said Dr. Cartwright. “I am honored and humbled by the faith in me exhibited by the search committee, President Mun Choi and the Board of Curators. The University of Missouri-Columbia is a world-class institution, the perfect example of a land-grant institution for the 21st Century. I am very excited to work with MU’s outstanding faculty, students and staff, alumni, elected leaders and Missouri citizens to take this great university to new levels of excellence. Together with President Choi and the entire university community, we will develop a compelling, mission-driven vision to collectively advance MU.”

“Having spent my formative years in Iowa, my wife Melinda and I are delighted to return to the Midwest. We have already found the great people of Missouri and the campus community to be welcoming and supportive,” Cartwright said. “There is no question that MU is one of the state’s most valuable assets. We look forward to joining the Mizzou family and to working together to protect and grow that value.”

Illustrating his broad expertise, experience and leadership skills, Dr. Cartwright was asked to take on several key interim appointments at SUNY while simultaneously serving as system provost and executive vice chancellor. He was the interim president of the SUNY Research Foundation for over a year, and also served as officer-in-charge (interim president) of SUNY Polytechnic and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, all of which serve as valuable experience for his role at MU.

Dr. Cartwright previously served as the vice president for research and economic development at the University of Buffalo (UB) an AAU institution, from 2012-2014. His academic career began at UB as a faculty member, followed positions of increasing responsibility that included Chair of both the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering departments. He is a prolific and highly influential scholar in the field of optical sensors, producing more than 150 peer reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings. Dr. Cartwright has received considerable funding from numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Department of Defense, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2016, Dr. Cartwright was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest multidisciplinary scientific society in the world dedicated to the advancement of science, engineering and innovation. He was recognized for “outstanding research, teaching and mentorship in optics, for advancing science in the state of New York, nationally and internationally, and for strengthening diversity and inclusion in science.”

Born in the Bahamas and raised in Iowa, Dr. Cartwright received both his Bachelor’s (1989) and Ph.D. (1995) degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa. Dr. Cartwright is married to Melinda Cartwright and together they have two children including Alyssa (senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Andrew (sophomore at Cornell University).

Editor’s Note: Alexander Cartwright Curriculum Vitae: