Letter to the Towson University Community on the Departure of President Kim Schatzel
Jay A. Perman | Chancellor
Nov. 30, 2022
To the TU Community:
This morning, the University of Louisville announced that Dr. Kim Schatzel will become its 19th president, assuming the role on Feb. 1.
There’s no question that President Schatzel’s departure from Towson University and from the University System of Maryland (USM) is a loss for us. The fact that Dr. Schatzel was tapped to head a university as nationally prominent as UofL, as highly regarded, speaks to her enormous talent and drive, which we’ve seen up close since she was named TU’s leader nearly seven years ago.
Taking the reins in 2016 at one of Maryland’s largest and fastest growing universities, President Schatzel had a clear vision of excellence that steers TU to this day. The university’s physical campus has grown under her leadership. State-of-the-art facilities were built, renovated, and expanded to support every facet of TU’s operations: teaching and learning, research, student life, administration, athletics. This growth was funded with $1 billion from state leaders over the course of Dr. Schatzel’s presidency, the largest capital investment in TU’s 166-year history.
But Towson’s campus is far from the only thing that President Schatzel has transformed. TU has become significantly more diverse with Dr. Schatzel at the helm, boasting the second-largest population of students of color in the state, and a racial/ethnic makeup that’s now nearly identical to Maryland’s.
Of course, diversity alone isn’t a sufficient indicator of progress, nor is it how President Schatzel measures success. TU has closed the achievement gap between Black and Latinx students and their white classmates, one of only a handful of U.S. colleges that can make that claim. For eight straight years, Black students at Towson have graduated at a rate higher than the university’s overall rate, and Towson is prominently ranked for social mobility—its success in graduating students who attend college with the aid of Pell grants. It’s these decisive outcomes that have won the university national recognition for inclusive excellence. Deservedly so.
In tandem with this aggressive equity agenda, President Schatzel has prioritized community-engaged scholarship and service. In 2015, TU earned the coveted Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, indicating a deep institutional commitment to engagement. Dr. Schatzel’s work in the intervening years has focused on ensuring that this commitment demonstrably benefits TU’s neighbors and Maryland as a whole.
She’s done this with projects like BTU, a system of 500+ community partnerships (and growing) that support Towson’s mission, enhance student learning, and advance Greater Baltimore. She’s done it with StarTUp at the Armory, Towson’s new hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, where community members can grow their businesses and connect with mentors, partners, and funders. StarTUp was just named North America’s best university-based economic development initiative.
That accolade was soon followed by another: TU won APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation for its dedication to nurturing human talent for a dynamic workforce; growing the economy through entrepreneurship and technology development; and enriching Towson as a “place of choice” through public service and community outreach.
President Schatzel’s ambitions for TU certainly haven’t slowed. Earlier this fall, the USM regents approved her plans to seek Carnegie R2 Classification, signifying that a university has achieved high research activity. This ambition aligns with Dr. Schatzel’s aspirations for a school with as much potential as Towson: to create the knowledge that solves society’s most urgent problems, to deepen TU’s impact as an anchor institution, and to leverage a robust research enterprise as a means of enriching the student learning experience, which is perhaps Towson’s most enduring hallmark of excellence.
The USM Board of Regents will soon launch a national search for President Schatzel’s successor, and I’ll be in touch with you to name TU’s interim leader as that search gets underway. I’ll also share details on how you can get involved in the process.
Saying goodbye to University System leaders is always difficult. Saying goodbye to leaders as driven, as dynamic, and as successful as President Schatzel—especially so. She is as clear-eyed about the future as anyone I know, and I have no doubt that her vision will mean great things for the University of Louisville.
Jay A. Perman
Contact: Mike Lurie