By: Cody Boteler, Senior Editor, Jonthan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief and Sam Shelton, News Editor
University President Maravene Loeschke will be resigning from her position, effective Friday, Dec. 19. The announcement came from a letter sent to the campus community by University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan.
In a separate message, Loeschke directly addressed Towson students and other members of the university community.
“It is the deepest sadness of my life that I find I must resign as President of Towson University because of my health,” the message reads.
Loeschke’s resignation comes after she took a leave of absence in August. Originally, the university said that Loeschke would return in the spring. In April, Loeschke made an announcement that she was battling cancer.
Timothy Chandler, who has been serving as acting president of Towson University, has been appointed as interim president. Kirwan said in his message that, in consultation with incoming USM Chancellor and former Towson President Bob Caret, he would appoint a search committee “to launch the process of identifying TU’s next leader.”
Chandler sent out a statement of his own late Thursday afternoon, saying, “It is with heavy hearts that we learned today of the resignation of President Maravene Loeschke. Perhaps her greatest gifts to Towson were her warmth and her generosity. They contributed immeasurably to the intimate feel of this 26,000-person community and were reflected in her dedication and love for her alma mater.”
University System of Maryland Student Council President and Towson senior Zac McGee expressed great admiration for Loeschke.
“Dr. Loeschke understood Towson and understood that students should come first. Above all else, when hard decisions needed to be made, Dr. Loeschke listened to students,” McGee said. “Big shoes to fill doesn’t even begin to explain this situation.”
The President’s Deputy Chief of Staff Marina Cooper said Loeschke’s decision was made earlier this week when she spoke to Kirwan, and up until that point, the expectation was that she’d return in January.
“The president remained positive throughout the process,” Cooper said. “All of her messages have always ended with a, ‘Look forward to seeing you soon.’ That is what she believed, it’s what all of us believed and hoped to be true.”
In a previous interview with The Towerlight, Cooper and Chandler both said they expected Loeschke to return, but no concrete date had been set yet. Instead, it’d be up to Loeschke to speak to Kirwan about returning.
Cooper said that Loeschke had planned to wait until after Towson’s commencement ceremonies to make her official announcement, but when news leaked Thursday morning they moved up the timetable.
“It comes as a surprise to all of us, but I know it was a heart-wrenching decision for her,” Cooper said.
Loeschke was named president in 2012 after Caret resigned. This will be the fourth time in five years that someone new has taken over the president’s duties. Then-Provost Marcia Welsh became interim president after Caret resigned in 2011, then Chandler took over for Loeschke during her leave and will likely serve in the role for the remainder of the school year.
In her brief time in the office, Loeschke dealt with high-profile issues, such as the Youth for Western Civilization and White Student Union and the cutting of the men’s soccer team. She also oversaw the hiring of current Director of Athletics Tim Leonard, and was a part of selling the controversial President’s House in Baltimore.