Dr. John B. King Jr., who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama, will become the 15th chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), effective January 2023.
"I am humbled and honored to accept the position of chancellor and to advance Governor Kathy Hochul’s vision to make SUNY the best statewide system of public higher education in our nation,’" King said. "Public education quite literally saved my life when I lost both of my parents at a young age, and I have dedicated my professional career ever since to ensuring that every student has access to the academic opportunities that they need and deserve. I look forward to working with all members of our campus communities, lawmakers, and stakeholders to bring SUNY to new heights and maximize its potential."
King is currently president of nonprofit The Education Trust. Earlier in his career, he was New York State’s first African American and first Puerto Rican education commissioner.
Earlier this year, he also launched an unsuccessful bid to become governor of Maryland. But it was his work as U.S. Secretary of Education that has won him acclaimed. During his tenure, he worked to simplify financial aid, oversaw federal investments in efforts to increase college completion, and advocated for the president’s America’s College Promise proposal.
"As President Obama's Secretary of Education, John King helped lead our fight for expanded access to higher education for every American and to ensure that all students had the support they needed to finish college. He championed the role of Community Colleges, connected them to the needs of today's workforce, and helped lead the effort across the administration to lift up young men and boys of color through President Obama's My Brother’s Keeper initiative," said Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation. "John believes in his core that public education - from pre-k to post-doctorate - is the key to challenging inequity and unlocking the potential of every individual. I can think of no better leader than John to lead the State University of New York and I know his service will be exemplary."
He is highly lauded in his field, with awards such as the Ann S. Kheel Award from the New York Urban League; the Eugene M. Lang Lifetime Achievement Award from the "I Have A Dream" Foundation; the New York Immigration Coalition Builders of the "New" New York Award; and the Robin Hood Foundation Heroes Award.
King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Columbia University's Teachers College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education degree in educational administrative practice from Columbia University's Teachers College.