Rutgers’ governors and trustees appointed Northwestern University Provost Holloway as the state university’s new president on Jan. 21, 2020. He will replace Rutgers President Robert Barchi, who announced his retirement from the post in July 2019 and will remain a Rutgers faculty member.
Holloway will take the reins on July 1.
In remarks after his appointment, Holloway paid tribute to his late parents and became emotional when mentioning their roles in shaping his character and career path. While remembering their lives, Holloway became tearful and paused to compose himself: “I got the job, Mom,” he said.
Meeting with reporters, Holloway pledged to listen to students and Rutgers employees. He downplayed his football career by putting it in air quotes, saying he played one play of one game as a senior at Stanford University. Surprised to be called into the game, Holloway scrambled to find his helmet upon being called off the bench.
Holloway described college sports as a great forum for students because their choices either lead to success or failure. He drew a parallel between college student-athletes preparing for games and students preparing for careers.
At Rutgers, sports is a fraught subject. The football program has struggled mightily in the Big Ten Conference, unable to compete with traditional powers like Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin. The repeated failures have prompted criticism from faculty and unions who decry the amount of money the university is spending on the program. The rehiring of former football head coach Greg Schiano, while welcomed by fans, generated more complaints over the richness of his compensation package. Holloway will have to navigate those waters carefully. But if Schiano, Holloway and Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs can together turn the program around, the benefits to the university – and the state – could be significant.
Holloway pronounced himself honored to lead Rutgers, which enrolls more than 70,000 students and employs more than 23,000 people.
“Today marks the beginning of a brand new venture for my family,” Holloway said. “I pledge to do everything I can to lead Rutgers. Bob Barchi has made it easy for me. … We must never give up on the future.”