William J. Ivey will succeed Jane Alexander as the seventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Alexander's term ended in October 1997.

"I am delighted that the Senate has confirmed William Ivey as chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts," President Clinton said last Thursday after the confirmation. "Mr. Ivey possesses a deep understanding of and commitment to American creativity."Through more than two decades of service, Ivey gained a strong working knowledge of the agency's mission, programs and policies. He chaired or served on 15 different Endowment grant panels including those for jazz fellowships, folk and traditional arts and the former Challenge and Advanced pro-grams.

Ivey is recognized nationally for his leadership in preserving historic recordings of popular and classical music, and strongly advocates diversity in the arts.

Born in Detroit in 1944, Ivey grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was educated at the University of Michigan and at Indiana University. He holds degrees in history, folklore and ethnomusicology.

The NEA is the federal grantmaking agency that Congress created in 1965 to support and foster the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in America.