The University System of Maryland Board of Regents elected Linda Gooden as the board’s new chair following former chair James Brady’s resignation last week.
Gooden is a retired Lockheed Martin executive and also serves on the boards of GM, Home Depot, WGL, and ADP, Inc.
Brady retired last week amid a widespread outcry following the Board of Regents’ recommendations for the University of Maryland, College Park, to keep DJ Durkin as its football coach following investigations into the death of football player Jordan McNair and allegations of a toxic culture within the program. The university’s president, Wallace Loh, later fired Durkin. Brady retired the next day.
The board came under fire for its recommendations, with criticism from several corners saying the board had overstepped the bounds of its governance. The board can only hire or fire college presidents, not university staff.
The president of the university’s foundation wrote in a letter that the board’s actions may have dealt a “fatal blow” to the university’s $1.5 billion capital campaign. Academic leaders worried that the board’s involvement could threaten the university’s accreditation, which is under review.
“In its quest to keep an open mind about the facts presented in the two recent reports on the tragic death of Jordan McNair and the University of Maryland, College Park football program, and subsequent interviews with those involved, the board – in the minds of many – lost sight of its responsibility to the university system,” Gooden said in a statement. “While the board’s decision was far from unanimous, and many members voted a different way, everyone on the board now understands that the board’s personnel recommendations were wrong. For that, we apologize to the McNair family, the University of Maryland, College Park community, and to the citizens of our state.”
Gooden will be setting up meetings with leaders in College Park and Annapolis, where a hearing on the board’s actions is scheduled for Nov. 15. Gooden also committed to the board’s governance mission.
“Our goal as a board is to govern in a manner that affords every student an opportunity for a safe, affordable, and quality education experience,” she said in her statement. “Under my leadership, this board will accomplish that goal by recommitting to the principle of shared governance.”
Gooden has served on the board since 2009 and currently chairs the board’s Committee on Organization and Compensation. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College.