‘Look and feel’ of SMCM called Jackson’s legacy
Vice president of finance who has worn many other hats set to retire after 32 years
After guiding four administrations through sometimes choppy waters at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Charles “Chip” Jackson is set to retire after 32 years of service at the campus community.
The college vice president of business and finance said it “was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”
Jackson, 60, of St. Mary’s City said he was initially hired on as a project manager, and contributed to the creation of the Townhouse Greene, where events like the college’s commencement ceremony and the summer River Concert Series are hosted. Other projects he worked on include the expansion and renovation of the college library and several new academic buildings.
It’s been “a joy to be a part of,” he said.
Jackson has served as the college’s vice president for business and finance since
2013. In that capacity, he’s overseen business affairs, facilities planning and operations, human resources, information technology and government relations, according to the college website.
Prior to that position, Jackson served as the college’s associate vice president for planning and facilities, leading the college’s master planning as well as design and construction efforts. His work led to multiple awards for architecture and sustainability initiatives.
He said he’s enjoyed supporting the campus and helping faculty, staff and students succeed at the college.
In a 2013 college release, Jackson led a variety of college initiatives
including student housing expansion and renewal planning, procurement policy, the campus pub, food service planning, the annual Governor’s Cup Yacht Race, and new models for the River Concert Series.
Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in business from Webster College.
Of his successor, Paul Pusecker, Jackson said he will be “better than Chip Jackson.”
Pusecker said in an April release that he is “excited and honored to be given this tremendous opportunity. … I look forward to working with all of the campus constituencies to continue to advance” the college.
Pusecker “will be terrific [in supporting] the
campus community,” Jackson said, adding that he thinks he’s “leaving the college in good hands.”
Jackson said he would also “greatly miss working with Dr. Jordan to network with state representatives for more college funding.
SMCM President Tuajuanda Jordan said “Chip has been responsible for the look and feel” of the college. “It’s a unique campus setting and it’s like none other,” she said.
Jordan said when she first met Jackson in 2014, “he seemed so Southern and genteel,” polite and refined.
“I consider Chip a friend [and] brother,” she said, referring to the multiple trips the pair have made to Annapolis. She said Jackson is “an excellent government liaison” and helped “navigate the halls
of Annapolis” to make connections with local representatives.
He’s going to “be really hard to replace in that respect,” she said.
Jordan said Jackson will “just roll up his sleeves and get the job done … whatever the need is.”
Mike O’Brien, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Foundation board member, said he first met Jackson while working on the college board of trustees’ buildings and grounds committee. “The college was physically growing” and the pair worked together through several construction challenges, he said.
Jackson has worked with four different college administrations that “relied on him,” O’Brien said.
He said Jackson is an avid fisherman, and “he’s a hard guy not to like.”
College trustee Gail Harmon said she met Jackson when she joined the board of trustees 10 years ago. She said there was a “difficult period” during the summer of 2013 when the college “needed an acting president” once Joseph Urgo did not have his contract renewed with the college after a shortfall in funding and enrollment. She said Jackson “did a huge service to the college” by filling the position on a temporary basis and working with the dean of faculty “in holding things together” prior to Jordan’s taking the helm.
Harmon said when Jackson isn’t working, he enjoys kayaking, fishing and “is active in the local yacht club. He’s a cool guy [who] loves the outdoors and the community,” Harmon said. “He’s very energetic.”
She said prior to working at the college, Jackson was involved in contracting and building with the Navy.
“The Navy makes you move every three years,” and Jackson eventually “wanted a community” to call home, Harmon said.
“Rather than move on, he took the risk of joining the college,” she said.
She said she didn’t doubt that Jackson would continue to be involved with the college after retiring, and that he would “be missed tremendously.” She said that Jackson “cares so much for the college.”
Along with having more opportunities outdoors, Harmon said Jackson would spend his retirement “enjoying more time with his wife [Emily Jackson] and grandchildren.”
Charles “Chip” Jackson, right, points to a blueprint design of the new academic building to be built at St. Mary’s College of Maryland while Graham Gund of Gund Partnership architecture and planning firm leans in.