John B. Slaughter (b. 1934) was chancellor of the university from November
1982 to July 1988. He was also the first African-American chancellor.
He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Kansas State
University in 1956, an M.S. in engineering from the University of
California, Los Angeles in 1961, and a Ph.D. in engineering science from
the University of California, San Diego in 1971.
Slaughter, a native of Kansas, was the director of the National Science
Foundation prior to becoming chancellor. During his tenure on campus,
Slaughter made major advances in the recruitment and retention of
African-American students and faculty. He also acted to stabilize the
university during the upheaval surrounding the sudden death of
Terrapin basketball star Len Bias in 1986.
Slaughter resigned in 1988 to become president of Occidental College in Los Angeles a position he held for 11 years. He later taught courses in diversity and leadership for one year as Irving R. Melbo Professor of Leadership Education at University of Southern California before accepting the position of president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), whose mission is to increase the number of engineers of color, in 2000. In 2010, he returned to the University of Southern California as a professor of education and engineering.