Professor Melissa Lynn Gilliam has made history as the first Black woman president of Boston University, and the first woman president of the university in 184 years.
Professor Gilliam is an adolescent gynaecologist, educator, scholar, and physician and paediatrics, with an interest in promoting adolescent health and well-being. She serves as the executive vice president and provost of The Ohio State University.
She was born in Washington, D.C., to a journalist and author Dorothy Butler Gilliam, and Sam Gilliam. Her childhood was built in a setting of success as her mother was the first African American journalist for The Washington Post.
Professor Gilliam earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Yale University, a Master of Arts degree in philosophy and politics from the University of Oxford, a medical degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois Chicago.
“From the very beginning, I was able to form that connection to Boston University,” said Gilliam, according to BU Today. “And I always knew it as a place that was going places that other institutions weren’t.”
Her appointment was thorough and meticulous. It followed a rigorous year-long search process, involving input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which tipped her as the perfect candidate.
Her experience, advocacy history, research skills, and her strong commitment to equity and fairness, leaves many hopeful of her service.
Melissa Lynn Gilliam is a promising leader for Boston University’s future. Gilliam will officially assume her new role on July 1, 2024, making her Boston University’s 11th president.