Office of the President
Ronald Mason, Jr., J.D.
Ronald Mason, Jr., J.D., began his tenure as the ninth president of the University of the District of Columbia on July 1, 2015. His reputation for strong leadership and responsible governance is bolstered by more than 30 years of experience in the higher education, community development, and legal fields.
UDC Board Chair Elaine A. Crider describes Mason as a proven, highly motivated and accomplished administrator who is exceptionally and uniquely suited to build upon the successes that the University has achieved in recent years.
“Mr. Mason has proven himself a leader in the higher education community in many parts of the country,” says Crider. “He has brought enhanced community relationships, responsible governance, and a strong students-first focus to his past roles and will do the same for the University of the District of Columbia as we continue to implement the goals and objectives of our “Vision 2020” strategic plan.”
In learning of his appointment, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the Board’s selection of Mason to lead the University. “I welcome Ronald Mason to the District of Columbia and look forward to collaborating to develop programs and initiatives that will better serve residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “I congratulate the board of the University of the District of Columbia for selecting a leader with a wealth of experience as they work to transform the District’s public university.”
Prior to being appointed president of the University of the District of Columbia, Mr. Mason was the seventh president of the Southern University and A&M College System, where he served a five-year term as the chief executive officer of the nation’s other Historically Black College and University System and provided oversight for the System’s five campuses.
Serving as Southern University’s president during a period of severe budget cuts, Mason improved human and technology infrastructures, established online degree options, and lead the campuses through a difficult transition process. Moreover, concerned about the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of educational opportunities for the underserved and black men in particular, Mason spearheaded an initiative titled the “Five-Fifths Agenda for America.” Its goals are to bring truth to the conversation about the relationship between America and black men, increase the number of college degrees among black men, and increase the number of black male teachers.
Before joining the Southern University System, Mason was president of Jackson State University (MS). Under his leadership, Jackson State experienced unprecedented growth in areas of fundraising, information technology proficiency, and the construction of new buildings.
Earlier in his career, President Mason developed a successful record of progressive leadership in various positions over an 18-year period at Tulane University in New Orleans, including senior vice president, general counsel, and vice president for finance and operations. He also served as the founder and executive director of the National Center for the Urban Community at Tulane and Xavier Universities.
President Mason is fond of saying, “I used to be a lawyer,” which references the start of his career as an attorney with the Southern Cooperative Development Fund, Inc. Among his numerous public service and professional activities, Mr. Mason holds current membership on the White House Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. He also serves on the Board of the American University of Nigeria and the International Foundation for Education and Self Help. His previous board service includes the American Council on Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, Office of Postsecondary Education.
A native of New Orleans, President Mason received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Columbia University in New York City. He attended the Harvard Institute of Educational Management and is the recipient of the Mayor’s Medal of Honor from the City of New Orleans, the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award from Dillard, Loyola, Tulane, and Xavier universities, and was one of five recipients of Columbia University’s 2008 John Jay Award for distinguished alumni.
He is married to the former Belinda DeCuir and has one daughter, Nia, and two sons, Jared and Kenan.