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Charles Robinson Named UA Chancellor

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The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees on Wednesday voted unanimously to name interim chancellor Charles Robinson the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The decision breaks a month-long stalemate between trustees, half of whom had reportedly sided with the Walton family in supporting the candidacy of University of Utah computer science professor Daniel Reed.

A public board vote had been set for Friday on the Fayetteville campus, where Robinson has broad support among students and faculty members. Instead, the board on Wednesday approved a three-year chancellor term for Robinson during a regularly-scheduled meeting in Monticello.

Robinson is the first Black chancellor of the university.

“I’m looking forward to serving our campus in its entirety and greatly appreciate the support and confidence shown in me to be a good steward of the Land-grant mission,” he said in a statement.

Robinson has served in numerous roles at the U of A over the past 23 years, beginning as an assistant professor of history in 1999 and including director of the African and African American Studies Program, vice provost for diversity, vice chancellor for student affairs, and as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.

He holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Houston, a master’s in history from Rice University, and a doctorate in history from the University of Houston.

Robinson was named interim chancellor shortly after Joe Steinmetz resigned in June 2021. Steinmetz had held the role since January 2016.

“Dr. Robinson has proven to be a very good steward of the university and its Land-grant mission during his time as interim Chancellor,” System President Donald Bobbitt said in a news release. “He now has the opportunity to cast a broader vision for advancing the university as a leading public research university in the region and raising its status on the national stage.

“He has a unique ability to inspire others and to relate to the many different constituencies across the university, and I look forward to working with him to help make his tenure as Chancellor a success.”

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