After 10 years, CSM president says it’s time to step down
Search for new college leader underway
Bradley Gottfried said it is with mixed feelings that he has decided to step down as president of the College of Southern Maryland. After 10 years at the school’s helm, he said he wants to step back from the demanding role and work towards improving his community as a private citizen.
“I love what I do, and I think I’m productive, and I think I’ve done good things for Southern Maryland, and that’s going to be hard to walk away from,” Gottfried said. “Not so much the position, but the ability to do good things in the community, that’s what
I’m going to miss.”
Gottfried, 67, announced his plans last week to retire effective June 30, 2017.
Gottfried came to CSM in August 2006 from Sussex Community College, where he had served as president since 2000.
Gottfried said that while his health is still good, he finds he has less energy to meet the demands of the job now than he did 10 years ago when he came to CSM as its fourth president.
“When I have three of these [15 hour] days, back to back to back, I don’t bounce back as fast as I used to, and so I’ve tried to make use of my time in a more strategic way, but the reality is that’s another tell that my body is telling me this is taking its toll,” Gottfried said.
He said it takes a lot to oversee a college spread across three Southern Maryland counties.
“This is a very complicated organization. It’s probably one of the most complicated colleges in the country because we have three of everything. Even Prince George’s [Community College], they’re much larger than we are, but they only have one campus, one set of county leaders, one chamber of commerce, one budget,” Gottfried said.
Outside of his duties as president, Gottfried has published several books on the battles on the eastern theater of the Civil War, and produced detailed maps of battle sites. Gottfried said he hopes to devote more time to writing both his Civil War books and also to try his hand at fiction.
“I’ve got a lot of writing projects,” Gottfried said. “But for me, that’s not enough. It’s the need to make a difference in society, that’s what drives me, and that’s what’s going to make me happy in retirement.”
In particular, Gottfried said he would like to work with nonprofit organizations and higher education consulting.
“The bottom line is, I will continue to be active in the community. Southern Maryland is my home, we’re going to continue to live on Cobb Island, and I want to continue to be engaged in helping the community in whatever way I can,” Gottfried said.
During his decade-long tenure, Gottfried has spearheaded the effort to expand the college with a fourth regional campus in Hughesville, which is currently under construction, and has expanded CSM’s partnerships and articulation agreements making it easier for students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
Gottfried has also expanded dual enrollment programs with local high schools, allowing high school students to take college classes for credit.
Mary Krug of Dunkirk began serving on the CSM Board of Trustees in 2006, the same year Gottfried arrived at CSM.
“As new as he was, I quickly found out that he figures things out pretty quickly,” Krug said.
Krug said Gottfried was a very capable administrator who knows how to work with the board, the community and others.
“He is an extraordinary person. He leads with a strong hand but a gentle touch. He always listens, and his leaving is a huge loss,” Krug said.
He said that during his tenure, he has been most proud of forging connections with the community and enhancing the college’s image within Southern Maryland.
“I’d like to believe, if there is one thing, that the way in which the college is viewed by the community has been enhanced,” Gottfried said. “We’ve always been a wonderful institution to get an education, we’ve always provided wonderful service, but I think we have, by my 11th year, we have stepped it up with the level of student achievement and student success.”
Gottfried, the proud product of a community college himself, has been a dedicated advocate of community colleges, but said he still feels there is work to be done in demonstrating that community colleges are an economical option for all students.
“The community college message has not resonated as far and as wide as I’d have thought it had,” he said. “My hope is that the next president will take us further so that it is an option for every family, no matter how affluent, no matter what their condition is, or point of view on education is, this is a place to get an outstanding education.”
There are still a few things left on his plate before retirement, Gottfried said. One of which is the opening of the first building on the new Hughesville Regional Campus, expected to happen in December.
Asked if he had any advice for his successor, he said he would tell him or her to listen.
“Listen to your students, listen to your staff, listen to your faculty, listen to the community. They’ll tell you what needs to be done,” Gottfried said.
A search committee has been formed to find a new president, and candidates are expected to be interviewed in February or March, with the new administrator expected to start July 1, 2017. Ongoing details about the search can be found on the CSM website, www.csmd.edu/about/leadership/presidential-search/, next month.