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Updated: 38 min 55 sec ago

Kesselman opts out of USM presidency, Glenn Cummings to take his place

Wed, 2015-05-20 10:27

USM officials announced Wednesday that Glenn Cummings will be the new president of the University of Southern Maine, replacing Harvey Kesselman, who was set to take the position on July 1.

Kesselman has agreed to a request by the Stockton University board of trustees that he remain as acting president of Stockton, after the president of that college resigned suddenly for medical reasons. Officials were in the middle of a plan to transform a closed Atlantic City casino into a satellite campus for the suburban college.

Dr. Cummings was selected as a finalist for the presidency following an eight month national search process that resulted in an applicant pool of 80 candidates and campus visits in February where hundreds of students, staff, faculty and community members engaged in discussions with three presidential finalists.

“While I eagerly anticipated being part of USM’s resurgence, the tremendous sense of obligation I have to Stockton University means I must forgo the opportunity to lead the University of Southern Maine,” said Kesselman in a prepared statement released on Wednesday morning.

“Maine is a special place and I remain absolutely convinced the University of Southern Maine has an important role in the state’s future.  I will forever be grateful for the acceptance and grace I have received from every Mainer I have met and forever a fan of the USM Huskies,” he said.

Earlier this week Madeleine Deininger, Chair of the Stockton University Board of Trustees, wrote to University of Maine System Chancellor James Page formally requesting that Dr. Kesselman be permitted to withdraw from his contract with the University of Southern Maine citing the seriousness of the issues that Dr. Kesselman must address at Stockton.  That request was granted.

“Harvey Kesselman’s long, capable service and dedication to Stockton University were among the qualities that made him such an appealing choice to join our leadership team in Maine,” said University of Maine System Chancellor James Page at a press conference on the Portland campus.  “While we sincerely enjoyed getting to know Dr. Kesselman and looked forward to working together, we respect his decision and admire his devotion to Stockton.  We wish Dr. Kesselman and the entire Stockton University community all the best.”

Cummings was selected as a finalist for the presidency following an eight month national search process that resulted in an applicant pool of 80 candidates and campus visits in February where hundreds of students, staff, faculty and community members engaged in discussions with three presidential finalists.

“Maine must have a vital, committed and successful University of Southern Maine,” said Page.  “I know that USM’s future is bright and I have every confidence that President Glenn Cummings will be the leader to build on USM’s existing strengths and to realize the enormous potential and promise that is the University of Southern Maine.”
“Like a Maine spring USM is slowly and beautifully emerging from a dark winter,” said incoming President Glenn Cummings.  “I am honored to be asked to serve at one of New England’s best universities during this powerful transition.”