A native of Queens, New York, Ivy R. Taylor spent twenty years in San Antonio, Texas as an affordable housing advocate, educator and elected official before beginning her current role as president of Rust College. Ivy served as mayor of San Antonio, Texas for three years and as a member of the San Antonio City Council for five years.
Ivy’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 apartment community residents. She spent six years as a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Public Administration Department. Ivy also served on the San Antonio Planning Commission and was previously a Commissioner for the San Antonio Urban Renewal Agency.
During her time as councilmember, Ivy led a significant community revitalization effort. Through her leadership, the Eastside, a distressed area of San Antonio, was awarded over $50 million in grants.
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. Ivy brought together a unique coalition of citizens from the minority community, the business community and the faith community to focus on key priorities. Accomplishments during her mayoral tenure include adoption of a comprehensive plan for the city, a new contract with the police union that saved millions in healthcare costs, and approval of a key water supply project.
While serving as mayor, Ivy joined the Board of Trustees of a historically Black college in Austin, Texas and this sparked an interest in using her leadership skills at an HBCU. After leaving the mayor’s office, she enrolled in a doctoral program in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania. She wrote her dissertation on board governance at HBCUs. In 2020, she completed the program, obtaining a Doctor of Education degree. Ivy also obtained a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. In 1992, she received a Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University.
In May of 2020, the Board of Trustees at Rust College selected Ivy to serve as 12th president of Rust College, a United Methodist affiliated HBCU located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Ivy is the first woman president of the institution which was founded in 1866 to educate freed slaves.
Ivy is excited to serve at Rust College and share this new adventure with her family which includes her husband of 21 years, Rodney, and her teenaged daughter, Morgan.