James Hildreth to to assume presidency of Meharry Medical College

James Hildreth to to assume presidency of Meharry Medical College

James E.K. Hildreth, dean of the University of California, Davis College of Biological Sciences, has announced his resignation from the university effective June 30, leaving to become president of Meharry Medical College in Tennessee.

Hildreth, who joined the university in 2011, is an active researcher and also a member of the departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Internal Medicine. His contributions to research, both his own and that of his college, are numerous. Under his leadership, the college created a new biology postdoctoral program as well as the Kingdom Crossing program that funded collaborations between investigators who work on organisms from different kingdoms of life. He built a research infrastructure program for his college.

Among his many achievements while dean, he introduced formal fundraising to the college, more than doubling the amount of private funds raised, including the college’s largest gift of $1.5 million from an anonymous donor. Hildreth hired 16 new faculty and introduced a program to resolve salary inequity among faculty. Hildreth is a passionate advocate for students, creating mandatory advising for all new students, and he opened the first-of-its-kind on-campus student advising center for CBS undergraduate students. He oversaw the creation of cohorts for freshmen, creating learning communities and an array of growth opportunities. Hildreth funded a summer research program to bring underrepresented minority students to UC Davis for summer research internships. He also supported faculty applications for the UC System Historical Black College and University grant programs, earning two such grants, the only two awarded in the system.

“While we regret losing James as dean, we congratulate him on his presidency,” Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor, said. “His vision for ‘new biology’ and his programming for students will remain as his legacy here at UC Davis.”

Hildreth is returning to Meharry, after a former appointment there from 2005 to 2011 as the director of the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research. In his career, he also served as the founding associate dean for Graduate Studies and professor in pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, his doctorate from Oxford University in immunology as a Rhodes scholar (the first African American from Arkansas to hold such an honor), and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award and serves on the Harvard University Board of Overseers.