By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
Provost Melanie Perreault will serve as the interim president of Towson University upon Kim Schatzel’s departure in February 2023, the University System of Maryland announced Thursday.
The appointment comes eight days after Schatzel announced her departure from the university to serve as the 19th president of the University of Louisville. Perreault has served as provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs since 2019.
“I am honored to further serve this remarkable institution as interim president, and I look forward to working with our outstanding leadership team to continue Towson University’s rising momentum,” Perreault said in a statement released by the university after the announcement.
System Chancellor Jay Perman said in a campus-wide email that Perreault will begin her tenure on Feb. 1, 2023.
“I’m grateful to Provost Perreault for agreeing to step into the top spot at Towson,” University System Chancellor Jay Perman said in a campus-wide email. “I know she’ll continue to guide the university with the same vision, care, and confidence that have characterized her last four years.”
Perreault’s tenure as provost
Perreault has spearheaded several university initiatives throughout her four-year tenure, including its push towards earning an R2 Carnegie Classification of high research, the university said. The classification would mean Towson graduates 20 doctoral students and spends at least $5 million on research annually.
She was the driving force behind the $4 million renovation turning the third floor of Albert S. Cook Library into a one-stop-shop for students to gain access to several university resources in one place.
Additionally, Perreault oversees Towson’s 125 degree programs, its 1,700 faculty and 200 staff members.
In a letter to the campus Thursday, Schatzel commended Perreault for her leadership.
“[Perreault’s] efforts have truly enhanced the lives of thousands of students, faculty, staff and administrators,” Schatzel said. “Her proven record of success and dedication to Towson University makes her the perfect choice to lead the TU community during this most important transition.”
USM’s president search
Perreault’s appointment aligns with the prior decision to make former provost Timothy J. L. Chandler interim president when then-President Maravene Loeschke stepped down in 2014 due to health reasons.
Chandler resumed his role as provost upon Schatzel’s arrival in 2018.
In his announcement on Thursday, Perman told the campus the search for its next president would be led by Isaacson Miller Inc., an executive search firm located in Washington, D.C. A system spokesperson told The Towerlight that the process for replacing a president is universal throughout its 12 institutions.
With the interim president named, Perman’s next steps will be to hold town halls and other campus meetings to gather feedback on who to add to a search committee.
Next, the System will announce the search committee, which a board of regents member will lead. Upon completing the search, the committee will present a recommendation to the chancellor and regents.
The board will make the final selection
Recently, the University System underwent this procurement process to replace the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s longtime president Freeman Hrabowski after his retirement.