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Bowie State president announces retirement

Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim (Photo from Bowie State University).

Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim (Photo from Bowie State University).

Bowie State University president Mickey L. Burnim announced Wednesday he will be retiring after 11 years at the helm of the historically black institution.

“My tenure here at Bowie State has been one of challenge, personal growth and gratification that comes from the many successes that we have experienced together,” Burnim wrote in a letter to the campus community.

But, he continued, after 40 years working in higher education, “it is now time for me to transition to a new phase in my life, spending more time enjoying my family and serving the higher education and broader communities in more focused and limited ways.

Burnim, 67, will step down effective June 30, which he said should give the University System of Maryland enough time to search for his successor and for a smooth transition.

During Burnim’s tenure, the university welcomed it’s largest-ever freshman class — 960 students — and graduated a record number of students — 1,180 — in the 2015-2016 academic year, according to Bowie State.

Burnim also oversaw the Bowie State’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which exceeded its $15 million goal, and helped launch the university’s Education Innovation Initiative, a partnership with Lockheed Martin to provide minority students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines with real-world experience in those fields. The university also launched a business incubator in 2012 to help support early-stage companies.

USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret praised Burnim’s work at the university in a news release Wednesday, saying that Burnim had served the campus with distinction and led the school to better serve the region, in part by offering majors in growing fields like information technology and cybersecurity.

In a statement, Board of Regents Chair James T. Brady praised the “decency and wisdom” Burning brought to the institution.

A Texas native with a doctorate in economics, Burnim took over as president of Bowie State in September 2006. Before that, he spent 11 years as chancellor of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina.

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