Charles Robinson elected as first Black chancellor of University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Robinson, interim chancellor since August 2021, has held various positions at the university, starting as an assistant professor of history in 1999.

Charles Robinson, Ph.D., has been chosen to serve as the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s first Black chancellor.

According to KATV News, Robinson has served as its interim chancellor since Aug. 16, 2021. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved him on Wednesday for a three-year employment term, effective immediately, and he said he’s ready to get the ball rolling.

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

Charles Robinson
Charles Robinson, Ph.D., who has been serving as interim chancellor since August 2021, has been elected as the first Black chancellor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (Photo: Screenshot/ of Arkansas)

Robinson has held various positions at U of A over the past 23 years, starting in 1999 as an assistant professor of history. His other roles include director of the African and African American Studies Program, executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs and vice provost for diversity.

The Fayetteville Flyer reported that Robinson would get the same salary and benefits as former chancellor Joe Steinmetz, who resigned on June 18, 2021. His pay in fiscal 2021 was $466,878.83.

Board Chairman Cliff Gibson reportedly wanted to dispel any misconceptions about Robinson’s appointment as affirmative action because Robinson had diligently worked for the University of Arkansas for over two decades. He referred to the decision as a historic one for the state’s premier university and its residents.

“By appointing Charles Robinson as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, this board has seized the opportunity to select a very accomplished man who happens to be Black and tell the country and the whole world that the Arkansas of today is not the Arkansas of 1957 and Central High,” Gibson said, according to The Fayetteville Flyer.

Robinson is only the second African American man to lead a Southeastern Conference institution. William Tate IV is the first, having been appointed president of Louisiana State University in May 2021.

According to KATV, University of Arkansas President Donald R. Bobbitt praised Robinson for his “unique capacity to motivate others” and connect with the many constituencies on campus. He added that he’s looking forward to working with Robinson to make his time as chancellor successful.

“Dr. Robinson has proven to be a very good steward of the university and its Land-grant mission during his time as interim Chancellor,” Bobbitt said, according to KATV. “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.”

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