Dr. Ivy R. Taylor
Dr. Ivy Ruth Taylor is the 12th president of Rust College; the first woman to lead Rust College as President.
A native of Queens, New York, Taylor has spent twenty years in San Antonio, Texas, leading efforts to connect people to opportunity. She has been an educator, affordable housing advocate, and elected official. Ivy served as Mayor of San Antonio, Texas for three years and as a member of the San Antonio City Council for five years.
Taylor’s career began as a City of San Antonio employee. She then served as Vice President of Merced Housing Texas where she worked to improve family stability for low-income apartment community residents. During her time working with residents of those apartments, she became convinced of the need to provide more access to higher education to help low income families in achieving stability. She spent six years as a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Public Administration Department. Taylor also served on the San Antonio Planning Commission and was previously a Commissioner for the San Antonio Urban Renewal Agency.
While serving as council member, Dr. Taylor led a significant community revitalization effort. Through her leadership, the Eastside, a distressed area of San Antonio, was awarded over $50 million in grants. This effort included a large scale community plan, and execution with many partners that resulted in new affordable housing, new educational and community programs and enhanced public investments in an area that had suffered from disinvestment.
In the summer of 2014, she was appointed as Mayor of San Antonio, per the charter’s requirements following a vacancy of the mayor’s office. In 2015, she was elected by the citizens of San Antonio. The 2014 appointment singled her out as the first African American to serve as Mayor of San Antonio. It also made San Antonio the largest city in the United States to have an African American woman serving as mayor at that time.
From day one in the Mayor’s office, Taylor showed her willingness to tackle tough issues, listen to the citizens and do what was best for the community. Accomplishments during her mayoral tenure include:
- creation of SA Works to focus on creating a strong workforce development framework for the entire community;
- execution of local “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to help connect more young men of color to opportunity;
- creation of a city faith based partnership initiative;
- increased college scholarships for students through city’s Martin Luther King Commission;
- approval of a package of charter amendments in the May 2015 municipal election, including a historic City Council salary initiative;
- settlement of a contentious police contract that provides over $80million in healthcare cost savings to the San Antonio taxpayers;
- several new companies relocating to San Antonio and bringing more than 1,000 new jobs;
- effective job training program, Promise Zone to Work, placed its first graduates;
- adoption of an annexation plan to ensure the city’s continued fiscal viability;
- UNESCO World Heritage Designation of San Antonio’s Spanish colonial missions;
- Google Fiber and AT&T Gigapower delivered fiber optic network;
- Negotiation of Uber and Lyft ride sharing services operating agreement for San Antonio;
DiversityFIRST Award recognizing City for achievements and commitment to the pursuit of cultural diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace;
- Achievement of functional zero in Veterans Homelessness through the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in partnership with HUD;
- Named first Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the country.
Dr. Taylor has been committed to improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged people. She has worked on many partnerships with educational organizations including local school districts, charter schools, community colleges and four-year colleges. During her six years at the University of Texas at San Antonio, she engaged her undergraduate and graduate students in community initiatives. She also developed and implemented a professional development program for Black employees at the city, county, and other public agencies.
Taylor is a positive community role model and has worked in partnership with many community agencies to improve outcomes for families. She served on the Board of Directors of Healthy Futures of Texas, which works to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy in San Antonio and Texas. She also served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of South Texas, which provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one to one mentoring relationships. Additional past service includes stints on the boards of the San Antonio Education Partnership, Project Quest, San Antonio Zoological Association and Haven for Hope.
In 1988, Taylor arrived at Yale University as a first-generation college student. She majored in American Studies and graduated in 1992. She also obtained a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. She is currently enrolled in an Executive Doctorate program in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania and will receive an Ed.D. in August 2020. Her dissertation research focused on board governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Ivy credits her academic success to the strong foundation, faith, and values instilled in her by her mother, a North Carolina native, who never had the chance to pursue her educational dreams.
While serving as Mayor and supporting the UNCF, Taylor joined the Board of Trustees for Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU in Austin, Texas. This sparked additional interest in higher education and supporting HBCUs. She is also on the board of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, a minority-serving institution. Taylor is committed to changing lives, improving communities and reducing economic inequality through working in higher education.
She currently works as a consultant with J.L. Powers and Associates. She relishes time with her family, which includes her husband of 20 years, Rodney and her daughter, Morgan, a high school student.