Press Release

April 13, 2000

University System of Maryland Names Janet Dudley-Eshbach New President of Salisbury State University

University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents Chairman Nathan A. Chapman Jr. announced today the appointment of Janet Dudley-Eshbach as the eighth president of Salisbury State University. Dudley-Eshbach, president of Fairmont State College in Fairmont, WVA, will begin her new position in June. She is the first woman president in Salisbury State's history.

An introduction of Dudley-Eshbach to the Salisbury State community is in the planning stages. An announcement about the event is expected within a week.

Since 1996, Janet Dudley-Eshbach, 47, has served as president of the largest of the nine institutions in the State College System of West Virginia. Fairmont State is a comprehensive college, offering 126 degree programs in teacher education, business, fine arts, humanities, engineering technology, social and natural sciences, and health careers. In her time there, she has overseen exponential growth at the institution, which has resulted in the need for new facilities, additional staff, and new programs including master 's degrees in criminal justice, architecture, business, and teacher education, all currently in development. In her first year at Fairmont, she secured the necessary external funding for a new classroom building at its off-campus site in Clarksburg. She also has guided the campus in establishing a successful annual fund effort, and, most notably, the single largest grant in the institution's history - a $21 million federal program designed to increase the college-going rate for junior high and high school students. She also has worked closely with West Virginia legislators to fund myriad projects such as improvements to the campus library, the athletic facilities, and the alumni center.

"The USM Board of Regents believes that Salisbury State University is an institution with a particularly bright future, a campus that deserves a leader who has both the vision and the experience to move it in that direction," Chapman said. "We unanimously decided that Janet Dudley-Eshbach is exactly the right choice, for she will bring to Salisbury a leadership ability, as well as an infectious passion for learning and exploration, that will further inspire the students, faculty, and alumni to greatness. Salisbury is a unique university, and she is a unique figure in American academia."

A professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, Dudley-Eshbach has received numerous awards and accolades both in and beyond her area of academic expertise. Last year she received the Elizabeth Dole Shattered Glass Award from the Marion County Chapter of the American Red Cross, given to a woman who has overcome extraordinary obstacles in the workplace to improve her life and others'. In 1998, Change magazine recognized her as a Young Leader of the Academy. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1974, the same year she earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University in Spanish language and literature and in Latin American studies. She completed her doctorate from El Colegio de Mexico in the same discipline in 1986. Her doctoral dissertation - based on an analysis of texts by Macedonio Fernandez, the Argentinian author of experimental narrative literature who was a precursor to the more famous Jorge Luis Borges - examined Fernandez's writings in relation to the author's own experiences.

Dudley-Eshbach is a native of Baltimore, MD. She grew up in Westminster, MD.

Prior to her arrival at Fairmont, Dudley-Eshbach served three years as provost at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Potsdam. As the institution's chief academic and administrative officer, she served on the SUNY Resource Allocation Model Committee, the Committee on Education Technology, and in other leadership positions. She was dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Potsdam for a year prior to that appointment, and also served in other administrative and academic positions at the university beginning in 1988. From 1978 to '88, she was on the faculty at Goucher College in Towson, MD, where she taught Spanish and Latin American studies.

Dudley-Eshbach is a member of American Council of Education's Committee on Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness, the National Association of Women in Higher Education, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. For the latter organization, she serves as vice chair of the Committee on Global Priorities and Responsibilities.

Dudley-Eshbach was keynote speaker at West Virginia's 1998 Equal Employment Opportunity Conference. She was one of 45 leaders from around the world invited to participate in Oxford University's 1998 roundtable on education policy. She also participated in Sen. Jay Rockefeller's trade mission to Taiwan and Japan in 1997.

USM Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg said: "Janet Dudley-Eshbach is an excellent fit for Salisbury State because they have similar strengths: A vigorous desire to make a difference, a great respect for teaching and learning, and a love for Maryland that has not diminished during her time in West Virginia and elsewhere. Salisbury is moving up in all of the national academic polls, and I suspect that Janet's presence will help boost it even higher."

Dudley-Eshbach replaces William C. Merwin, who served as president from 1996 until last year. Joel M. Jones, former president of Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, is serving as interim president.

Said Jones: "Having watched Janet Dudley-Eshbach's career closely for the past several years, I am most pleased that the Regents have appointed her to the presidency of Salisbury. She has established an impressive record as an academic administrator in several types of institutions; she works well with all constituencies, faculty, staff, students, legislators and donors; and she brings extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to the task at hand. With her deep Maryland roots and her well-informed respect for SSU, she should prove to be a truly outstanding president for this fine university."

Dudley-Eshbach said: "It is a great honor to have been selected to serve Salisbury State University as its eighth president. SSU has, over the past 15 years, achieved national prominence for its quality faculty, staff, student body, and facilities. This appointment represents a unique opportunity for my family and me to reconnect with our Maryland roots."

Dudley-Eshbach and her husband have two children. Her husband, Joe, 57, is a registered nurse retired from CSX Corporation. Their daughter, Caroline, is 14, and their son, Joe, is 16.

Founded in 1925 on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Salisbury State University offers 30 undergraduate majors. Master's programs include English, history, education, nursing, and business. Salisbury has four endowed schools, a rarity among public institutions: the Perdue School of Business, the Henson School of Science and Technology, the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies, and the Fulton School of Liberal Arts. Nationally cited as a "best value," Salisbury offers an honors program for its top scholars and individual attention to all students. It has more than 5,500 undergraduate students, 540 graduate students, and 263 full-time faculty members.


Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739
Pager: 301/507-2316

Richard Culver
Phone: 410/543-6030