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An Ivy-League-educated president for Washington, D.C.’s public university

Ronald Mason, Jr. (Photo courtesy of Southern University)

Ronald Mason, Jr., the president of Southern University and A&M College System in Louisiana, will be the next president of the University of the District of Columbia.

Mason, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Columbia University, has been president of Jackson State University and held several leadership roles at Tulane University, including senior vice president, general counsel, and vice president for finance and operations.

UDC has been led by an interim president since 2013, when the board fired the previous president, Allen L. Sessoms. He had worked to raise admissions standards and tuition for the undergraduate college, creating a separate, more-affordable community college track, but was criticized for  his spending while in office. The school, which includes a law school, has long struggled with financial troubles.

[UDC board votes to fire President Sessoms]

Mason will begin on July 1.

Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the selection in a statement and, in a letter to the D.C. Council, said she intends to restore funding for the school in the District’s 2016 budget: “I welcome Ronald Mason to the District of Columbia and look forward to collaborating to develop programs and initiatives that will create pathways to the middle class for residents and the entire student body.”

Elaine A. Crider, who leads the school’s board, said,  “The president-elect has proven himself a leader in the higher education community in many parts of the country.”