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Time to Pass the Baton

University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan announced Tuesday that he will step down from his position as soon as the Board of Regents finds a successor. In a letter to students, faculty, and staff of the system's 12 institutions of higher learning, Kirwan wrote that although he still feels passionately about his service to the system, "I have come to the reluctant conclusion that it is time for me to pass the baton on to new leadership and devote my entire energies to my family and to a few causes about which I care so deeply."

Kirwan, the son of former University of Kentucky President Albert Kirwan, joined the University of Maryland, College Park in 1964 as an assistant professor of mathematics. He served as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1977 - 1981, was appointed vice chancellor of academic affairs - the university's highest academic post - in 1981, and chancellor (a position which has since been renamed "president") in 1989. During his tenure in College Park, Kirwan is credited with raising academic standards, enhancing numerous academic programs, and recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty.

In 1998, Kirwan left the University of Maryland to become president of Ohio State University. Just four years later, in 2002, he returned to Maryland as Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, comprising 12 institutions of higher education, with more than 150,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition to his duties as leader of the 12th largest university system in the United States, Kirwan is recognized as a national thought leader on a wide range of subjects, including diversity, access and affordability, cost containment, innovation, higher education's economic impact, academic transformation, and financial aid. He currently chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, chairs the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center Advisory Committee, and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

In his letter, Kirwan indicates that USM Board of Regents Chairman Jim Shea will appoint a committee to conduct a search for a new chancellor, and that he will remain in his post until the search is completed and a new chancellor is named. "I am deeply grateful for the honor and privilege of serving as chancellor of the University System of Maryland,"Kirwan wrote, "and in the coming months look forward to thanking as many of you as I can for the support you have given me and for the privilege of being your colleague over these many years."
Posting Date: 05/13/2014
Contact Name: Alex Likowski
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: alikowski@umaryland.edu