Dr. Melissa L. Gilliam, a doctor and better training chief, will tackle the mantle of president of Boston College, efficient Jul. 1, 2024. In doing so, she’s going to turn into BU’s first lady and first Black president.
Gilliam, 58, is not any stranger to firsts. She is presently government vp and provost at The Ohio State College, the primary Black to carry that function within the faculty’s historical past. There she oversees all elements of educational affairs, starting from training to range and inclusion.
“What’s extra irritating to me is that these days, I’m nonetheless doing issues which might be first,” Gilliam stated in a BU press launch. “That’s a much bigger concern, that there’s any trailblazing side to what I do. There’s a lot expertise and human potential, I determine in 2023 it needs to be commonplace. And it simply isn’t.”
Gilliam’s profession and expertise in larger training spans greater than a decade, having spent over 16 years on the College of Chicago. There, she served in quite a few roles in a number of departments, together with because the Ellen H. Block Distinguished Service Professor of Well being Justice and vice provost.
With previous expertise as a pediatrician and gynecologist, she additionally served as chief of household planning and contraceptive analysis and chief of the college’s program in gynecology for kids, adolescents, and younger adults.
A scholar who has authored or coauthored greater than 100 peer-reviewed articles, Gilliam is founding father of UChicago’s Middle for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Well being (Ci3) and board member for Argonne Nationwide Laboratory, a Division of Vitality-supported analysis lab affiliated with UChicago.
In an interview with Various, Gillum stated that her expertise within the scientific setting makes her a superb problem-solver.
“[My clinical experience] offers me a number of perception into the function of well being and well-being and the way it can actually be a barrier to individuals being capable of absolutely take part at work,” she stated, noting that the well being and well-being of each workers and college students needs to be paid consideration to.
As she transitions into this new function, Gilliam stated she had her sights on sure key issues, together with scholar range, affordability, retention, and commencement charges.
“I have a number of targets and concepts round college students and creating a extremely inclusive tradition and addressing problems with entry and affordability,” Gilliam instructed Various. “I am very fascinated by how we could be extra externally engaged. We have an ideal alternative, each in our locality right here in Boston [and globally]. Particularly popping out of the pandemic, we’ve rather a lot to consider when it comes to a worldwide footprint.”
Even with the Supreme Courtroom’s choice to strike down affirmative motion in faculty admissions, there stays methods to promote scholar range, Gilliam instructed The Boston Globe. Establishing and sustaining pre-admissions connections with potential college students and a variety of excessive faculties will likely be necessary, she stated.
“If we create an setting the place college students really feel included and conscious that it is a place the place they’re going to get an incredible training, but additionally actually really feel prefer it’s dwelling, you then begin to create a virtuous cycle,” she stated. “Then college students [start] informing others, and so they’re going to need to apply and are available right here.”
Gilliam additionally stated that, given her medical background, she was uniquely positioned to strengthen ties with BU’s Medical Campus.
She stated that she plans to bolster efforts to have interaction and listen to from college students.
Gilliam holds a B.A. in English literature from Yale College; an M.A in philosophy and politics from Oxford College, a Physician of Drugs from Harvard College; and an MPH from the College of Illinois Chicago College of Public Well being. She can also be the daughter of veteran reporter Dorothy Butler Gilliam, who was the primary Black lady reporter employed by The Washington Submit in 1961.
“A extremely regarded chief in a number of areas—from teachers, analysis, and drugs to international affairs, neighborhood outreach, and inclusion—with greater than 16 profitable years on the College of Chicago previous to her appointment at The Ohio State College, Dr. Gilliam will usher Boston College into a brand new period of transformational impression,” stated Ahmass L. Fakahany, chair of BU’s Board of Trustees. “We couldn’t be extra thrilled to welcome her to our neighborhood, one that’s in continuous ascension and shimmering with promise.”