University of the District of Columbia President Ronald Mason talks to The Washington Informer during an interview in his northwest D.C. office on March 5. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** University of the District of Columbia President Ronald Mason talks to The Washington Informer during an interview in his northwest D.C. office on March 5, 2018. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Ronald Mason Jr., the University of District of Columbia’s ninth and longest-serving president, announced his resignation Thursday in a letter to students, faculty and community members. 

He expressed plans to step down in the summer of 2023, when his contract expires. 

Since Mason took the helm in 2015, UDC’s operating budget has increased by $22.4 million, along with District funds from the six-year capital improvement plan. The university also tied with Yale University in the ranking of its law clinic while receiving 11 commendations in accreditation reaffirmation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 

Other accomplishments include the tripling of research expenditures, the launch of Ph.D. programs in Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship and Computer Science & Engineering, and the Katherine G. Johnson Math Teacher Training Institute. 

Within the past two years, UDC also finalized contracts for full-time and adjunct faculty members and obtained $2.3 million for need-based scholarships. These milestones came in the midst of plans to expand UDC’s community college programming at the Bertie Backus campus in Northeast. 

Meanwhile, the university secured building repairs and HVAC upgrades across the Van Ness campus. University leaders also negotiated lease and partnership agreements with nationally renowned companies, including Starbucks and MOM’s Organic Market. In 2020, UDC acquired the 4250 Connecticut Avenue NW building with plans to transform it into an academic space. 

Similar plans have been in the works for a building in Congress Heights in Southeast which will become a Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning program.

The Board of Trustees will soon launch a presidential search committee that will facilitate a process that board members described as inclusive of community members. However, as expressed in his July 21 letter to UDC students, faculty and staff, Mason has shown no signs of going into the shadows. 

“It was not a decision I made lightly.  After considerable contemplation and consultation with the Board of Trustees and seven years in this role, the time is right to pass the baton,” Mason said.  “This is not the end, and certainly not goodbye. We still have significant work to do, and I look forward to doing it together — as we always have.”

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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