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Towson University president leaving for University of Louisville

Kim Schatzel speaks to the media and University of Louisville administration after she was named the 19th president for the university in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 30, 2022. Schatzel is the second woman to lead the school. (Matt Stone/Courier Journal via AP)

Kim Schatzel speaks to the media and University of Louisville administration after she was named the 19th president for the university in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 30, 2022. Schatzel is the second woman to lead the school. (Matt Stone/Courier Journal via AP)

Towson University president Kim Schatzel has been named the next president at the University of Louisville. She will assume her new role on Feb. 1, 2023.

Schatzel, who was selected in a unanimous vote by the Louisville board of trustees Wednesday morning, will be Louisville’s 19th president and the second woman to lead the school.

At an appearance Wednesday on the University of Louisville campus, Schatzel said she was excited about her new position.

“Leadership is a team sport, especially when it comes to such a complex and innovative organization like the University of Louisville,” she explained, promising to work closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, elected officials, businesses and community partners “to expand UofL’s already tremendous impact and address the great challenges of today.”

Jay Perman, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, sent a letter to the Towson University community after the announcement.

“There’s no question that President Schatzel’s departure from Towson University and from the University System of Maryland (USM) is a loss for us,” Perman said. “The fact that Dr. Schatzel was tapped to head a university as nationally prominent as UofL, as highly regarded, speaks to her enormous talent and drive, which we’ve seen up close since she was named TU’s leader nearly seven years ago.”

Schatzel became Towson’s 14th president in January 2016. She had focused on building the school, one of the state’s largest and fastest-growing universities.

Perman pointed to the growth she has led to the physical campus. New state-of-the-art facilities were built, renovated or expanded under her leadership. Under Schatzel, the school received $1 billion from state leaders, the largest capital investment in the school’s 166-year history.

The university this fall enrolled 16,861 undergraduate students and 2,932 graduate students, according to the school’s website.

Perman also lauded her focus on diversity at the school, which has the second-largest population of students of color in the state.

“Of course, diversity alone isn’t a sufficient indicator of progress, nor is it how President Schatzel measures success,” Perman said in the letter. “TU has closed the achievement gap between Black and Latinx students and their white classmates, one of only a handful of U.S. colleges that can make that claim. For eight straight years, Black students at Towson have graduated at a rate higher than the university’s overall rate, and Towson is prominently ranked for social mobility—its success in graduating students who attend college with the aid of Pell grants. It’s these decisive outcomes that have won the university national recognition for inclusive excellence. Deservedly so.”

Perman said the USM Board of Regents will launch a national search for Schatzel’s successor. An interim leader will be named as the search gets underway.

Schatzel was named to The Daily Record’s inaugural Power 100 List in 2021 and the Power 30 Higher Education in 2021 and 2022; was a Most Admired CEOs honoree in 2017 and 2022; an Influential Marylander in 2017 and 2021; an Icon Honor winner in 2018. She joined the Circle of Excellence having won Maryland’s Top 100 Woman award for the third time in 2021.

Schatzel is a rare university president who had an extensive background in the private sector. She was a corporate executive and an entrepreneur in the technology and advanced manufacturing sectors, serving as founder and as CEO of a multinational advanced manufacturing firm with more than 1,500 employees.

She began her academic career as an assistant professor at the College of Business at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, later serving as provost, executive vice president and then interim president at Eastern Michigan University.

At Louisville, Schatzel succeeds Lori Stewart Gonzalez, who has served as interim president since December 2021 and will be returning to her previous leadership role as executive vice president and university provost.

Louisville enrolled 23,194 students in the fall of 2021, according to the school. The school’s basketball and football teams are nationally prominent, competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the nation’s major college athletics conferences.