Dr. Robert J. Jones
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
364 Henry Admin. Bldg.
506 S. Wright St., MC-370
Urbana, IL 61801
Dr. Robert J. Jones was appointed as the Chancellor of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on July 19, 2016. Previously, Dr. Jones had served as the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees as the 19th president of the University at Albany since 2013. Prior, Dr. Jones had served as senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System since 2004. Dr. Jones spent more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, including vice president and executive vice provost for faculty and academic programs, vice president for campus life and vice provost for faculty and academic personnel, interim vice president for student development and president of the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park Development, LLC.
A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After earning the Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Dr. Jones currently serves as Regional Council Co-Chair for the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) alongside Albany Medical Center President James J. Barba. He is a fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He has been a visiting professor and featured speaker in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and from 1984 to 1994 served as an academic and scientific consultant for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Education Program. In 2010, he was awarded a University of Minnesota endowed chair in urban and international development; he was also named a recipient of the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
Dr. Jones held a gubernatorial appointment as a commissioner of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and served on the board of directors for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the Bush Foundation, among other leadership roles. He was also a member of the Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based choral ensemble.