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Salisbury University president to retire

Salisbury University President Charles Wight will retire at the end of the academic and fiscal school year, he announced in a YouTube video, after leading the school since 2018.

In his Thursday announcement, Wight called the choice to retire a “difficult decision, and a personal one,” saying that he was retiring in order to focus on his health and his family.

Salisbury University President Dr. Charles Wight, the host sponsor for the event, welcomes people to the networking series gathering. (Photo by Jeanne Anderton)

“I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I have some serious health issues and I need to spend more time taking care of myself than this job allows,” he said. “I also need to spend more time with my family and my four grandchildren.”

In Wight’s tenure as Salisbury president, the school has been regularly recognized by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, and has earned the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Wight has overseen a number of new initiatives at Salisbury, including the creation of the school’s Center for Equity, Justice and Inclusion, the re-establishment of its Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and its largest-ever fundraising program, the $75 million “We Are SU” campaign. Three new academic majors and eighteen minors have been added at Salisbury during his tenure.

He also oversaw the university’s COVID-19 response. The school was committed to keeping students on campus, and was the only University System of Maryland school that welcomed students back to campus after Thanksgiving break in the fall semester of 2020.

In a statement, USM Chancellor Jay Perman lauded Wight’s dedication to accessibility and his COVID-19 response.

“Dr. Wight’s ability to sustain Salisbury’s quality and prominence at the same time that he focused on opening access — at the same time that he expanded SU’s academic programs — speaks to his leadership,” he said. “Of course, I got to know that unflappable leadership best during COVID-19, and Chuck’s work to secure the safety of his people while minimizing disruption to students was an inspiration. All of us within the University System will miss his wisdom and strength.”

Prior to his time as Salisbury’s president, Wight served as president of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, for five years. A chemist by training, he began his career as a chemistry professor at the University of Utah in 1984. He continued to teach entry-level chemistry courses every fall throughout his time as president of Salisbury.

His last day will be June 30. The USM Board of Regents will lead the search for Salisbury’s tenth president.