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As chancellor of the University System of Maryland, Jay Perman helps people achieve their full potential, something he describes as the most important aspect of his job.

“Too many people underestimate what they do, and what they can do,” Perman said. “And that’s a waste.”

But Perman has also learned that to inspire excellence in those around him, he needs to understand them fully, a lesson taught to him by his most significant mentor, Dr. Richard Krugman. He emphasized to Perman that if he does not understand a person’s behavior, it does not mean the person is wrong. It only means, Perman recalled, that he does not have enough information or history about the person to understand.

Perman, who is also a pediatric gastroenterologist, became the fifth chancellor of the USM in January 2020 after serving for nearly a decade as the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As chancellor, he has stated he will prioritize ensuring everyone in Maryland who wants a college education can access it and has sought to ensure affordability of higher education.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be singing. I’ve been in a lot of choirs. My grandfather and great-grandfather were cantors, and I inherited their tenor voice. If I ever stop working, I’m going to go sing.

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