July 31, 2002

USM Chancellor "Brit" Kirwan to Begin August 1

Picture of Kirwan

William English "Brit" Kirwan will begin his new position as chancellor of the University System of Maryland (USM) on August 1. Kirwan, the former president of Ohio State University (1998-2002) and president of the University of Maryland, College Park (1989-1998), succeeds Donald N. Langenberg, who retired on April 30 after nearly 12 years as chancellor.

Kirwan said he was "elated" to begin his new job, because the USM is increasingly viewed as a national and global leader in the delivery of high-quality, affordable public higher education. "The USM institutions are poised for greatness," Kirwan said. "The campuses are delivering on their promise to attain national eminence, and have the momentum to take their rightful place among their peer institutions - the North Carolinas, Wisconsins, Michigans, the very best that American public higher education can offer."

The University System of Maryland enrolls over 120,000 students, employs over 10,000 faculty members, and has an operating budget of $2.5 billion. There are 13 institutions within the System, 11 degree-granting and two research institutes. It is governed by a 17-member Board of Regents. Kirwan is the third Chancellor of the System, succeeding Langenberg and John Toll, currently president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

"The USM's institutions are among Maryland's most valuable assets. They are vital elements in the economic and cultural life of Maryland," Kirwan said. "I look forward to joining the USM family, and want everyone associated with the system to know that I am here to champion their cause."

Nathan A. Chapman, chairman of the USM Board of Regents, said the board is certain that Kirwan will convey the message that the USM is a seasoned and reliable supplier of public higher education - a product that will not falter, even in an uncertain economy.

"Brit Kirwan is a proven, mature leader who reflects the stature the USM has achieved," Chapman said. "He is confident, thoughtful, sensible, and greatly respected."

A native of Kentucky, Kirwan holds a Ph.D and a master's degree from Rutgers University; he has a bachelor's degree from University of Kentucky. He is a member of several honorary and professional societies including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America. He is co-editor of the book Advances in Complex Analysis. He serves on the boards of directors of the American Council on Education and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and co-chairs the Business-Higher Education Forum's Diversity Initiative Task Force.

Last April, Kirwan was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the nation's preeminent learned society and research institution.

Kirwan grew up on the University of Kentucky campus where his father was dean of students, graduate dean and president of the university. Kirwan is married to Patricia Harper Kirwan; his two children, William E. Kirwan III and Ann Kirwan Horton, are alumni of the University of Maryland, College Park; he has three grandchildren.


Francis Canavan
Phone: 301/445-2722
E-mail: fcanavan@usmd.edu