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Longtime Salisbury University president to leave post next year

Janet Dudley-Eshbach longest-serving woman president in USM history

Janet Dudley- Eshbach, Ph.D.- President, Salisbury University. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Janet Dudley- Eshbach, Ph.D.- President, Salisbury University. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach will step down from her post in June next year, ending an 18-year tenure at the eastern Maryland college.

Dudley-Eshbach will end her tenure as the longest-serving female president in the University System of Maryland history. She was the first woman to be president of Salisbury and its second-longest serving president.

“Change is good, for institutions and individuals,” Dudley-Eshbach said in a campuswide letter. “Eighteen years is a long tenure for any university president, especially in today’s world …. We’ve accomplished so very much together, and my own successes would not have been possible without the support and dedication of thousands of staff, faculty, students, alumni, donors and members of SU’s many affiliated boards.”

Janet Dudley-Eshbach

Janet Dudley-Eshbach

University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret praised Dudley-Eshbach’s leadership at the university as well as her advocacy for public universities.

“I first knew (Dudley-Eshbach) when I was President of Towson University,” he said in a statement.  “She was (and still is) a fierce champion for Salisbury University. Her energy, passion, intelligence and humor marked her as someone whose voice would be heard. When I returned as chancellor, those aspects of her character had not changed, but she also can speak eloquently about the significance of public universities everywhere, particularly their missions to help all students and educate an informed public. She has made higher education her life, and SU, the University System of Maryland, and the citizens of Maryland, are better for it.”

After she leaves the school, Dudley-Eshbach will serve as a special adviser to the university as part of a sabbatical year before becoming an active member of the faculty for the 2019-20 school year.

“I am greatly looking forward to returning to my first love – teaching, mentoring students, and scholarship,” she said in a statement. “I wish to be involved in community service activities and would like to work with our region’s Spanish-speaking community, particularly those who may need help with English language skills.”

As president of the university, Dudley-Eshbach led a period of growth for the school, both internally and with the surrounding community. The university’s enrollment has grown from 6,400 to more than 8,700.

The school has also increased its study abroad programs and its number of international students, coming from more than 60 countries. As a Latin American literature and Spanish language scholar, Dudley-Eshbach encouraged and supported students pursuing those connections.

During Dudley-Eshbach’s leadership, Salisbury developed one-third of its majors and its first doctoral programs in nursing practice and education.

The campus also expanded, adding around $350 million in new facilities.

Under Dudley-Eshbach’s watch, collaboration between the university and the greater Salisbury community grew as well. She established a Town-Gown Council and a center for learning.

The university increased its footprint in the city’s downtown area. The Gallery Building was donated in 2015 to the school and it will be used as a space for the school’s entrepreneurship program.


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