Uni­ver­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land names new chan­cel­lor

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIZ BOWIE

The Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Board of Re­gents has cho­sen a leader from in­side to steady the sprawl­ing state sys­tem of 12 pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties fol­low­ing a year of pub­lic crit­i­cism and tur­moil.

Dr. Jay A. Per­man, the pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Baltimore, will take over next sum­mer as chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land, re­plac­ing Robert L. Caret, who had de­cided not to seek an­other five-year con­tract.

Per­man, a pe­di­atric gas­troen­terol­o­gist, be­came pres­i­dent of Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Baltimore in 2010. UMB in­cludes grad­u­ate schools in health, law and so­cial ser­vices in down­town Baltimore.

Writ­ing to the UMB com­mu­nity on Thurs­day evening, Per­man said he found it “dif­fi­cult to ex­press just how deeply I’ll miss UMB, how much I’ll miss com­ing to work here ev­ery day. And yet I’m ex­cited for this ex­tra­or­di­nary op­por­tu­nity to lead the Sys­tem and ful­fill what I con­sider one of my life’s obli­ga­tions: en­sur­ing that ev­ery per­son who wants a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion is able to

ac­cess it.”

In his let­ter, Per­man wrote to his staff that his obli­ga­tion came from his own jour­ney at­tend­ing col­lege on schol­ar­ships and not know­ing whether he could af­ford med­i­cal school, which was “prob­a­bly half of what my wid­owed mother earned in a year as a seam­stress do­ing piece work.” He at­tended med­i­cal school through the help of a bene­fac­tor, he wrote.

He said the op­por­tu­nity to lead the sys­tem was a way of open­ing doors to oth­ers.

“Jay has served as chair of the coun­cil pres­i­dents. He rep­re­sents the best of the USM pres­i­dents. Most im­por­tant, we trust him,” said Free­man Hrabowski, pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Baltimore County, in an in­ter­view. “He leads with great au­then­tic­ity and he cares about the cit­i­zens of Mary­land.”

A na­tive of Chicago, Per­man worked at the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity School of Medicine from 1984 to 1996, be­fore mov­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land med­i­cal school to head its pe­di­atrics de­part­ment. He also served as dean and vice pres­i­dent for clin­i­cal af­fairs at the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky Col­lege of Medicine be­fore re­turn­ing to Mary­land in 2010 to take the pres­i­dent’s job.

Since tak­ing the job at UMB, he has sought to strengthen the in­sti­tu­tion’s “ties to the city of Baltimore and en­hance both eco­nomic devel­op­ment and the health and well-be­ing of its clos­est neigh­bors,” the uni­ver­sity said in a press re­lease.

The choice of Per­man is a de­par­ture from the re­cent past when the sys­tem’s re­gents have sought aca­demics with back­grounds run­ning un­der­grad­u­ate in­sti­tu­tions.

Both Caret and the pres­i­dent of the sys­tem’s flag­ship Col­lege Park cam­pus came un­der in­tense crit­i­cism in the past year for their han­dling of the death of a 19-year-old foot­ball player Jor­dan McNair and the fall­out and scan­dal in the ath­letic de­part­ment af­ter his death.

Col­lege Park’s Pres­i­dent Wal­lace Loh, orig­i­nally stepped down last year, but then de­cided to re­main un­til he re­tires in June 2020. A suc­ces­sor for Loh has not yet been named.

Over the past year, Caret had been crit­i­cized for his han­dling of sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing a re­buke by the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly, which de­cided last win­ter to elim­i­nate an amount equal to his $650,000 salary from the sys­tem’s ad­min­is­tra­tive bud­get, a clear sig­nal to his bosses, the Board of Re­gents, that many in the leg­is­la­ture dis­agreed with his lead­er­ship.

“In our search for a new USM chan­cel­lor we were look­ing for a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized leader — ideally some­one who had run a large and com­plex in­sti­tu­tion, an in­no­va­tor com­mit­ted to eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment — but above all a per­son with a pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion and com­mit­ted to shared gov­er­nance, trans­parency, and di­ver­sity,” said chair of the Board of Re­gents Linda Gooden in a state­ment. “For­tu­nately for us that we found all of those things right in our own back­yard.”


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