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Press Releases

Thursday, April 13, 2000

University System of Maryland Names Janet Dudley-Eshbach

SALISBURY, MD---University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents Chairman Nathan A. Chapman Jr. announced today the appointment of Janet Dudley-Eshbach as the eighth president of Salisbury State University. Dudley-Eshbach, president of Fairmont State College in Fairmont, WV, will begin her new position in June. She is the first woman president in Salisbury State's history.

An introduction of Dudley-Eshbach to the Salisbury State community is in theplanning stages. An announcement about the event is expected within a week.

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, PresidentSince 1996, Janet Dudley-Eshbach, 47, has served as president of the largest of the nine institutions in the State College System of West Virginia. Fairmont State is a comprehensive college, offering 126 degree programs in teacher education, business, fine arts, humanities, engineering technology, social and natural sciences, and health careers. In her time there, she has overseen exponential growth at the institution, which has resulted in the need for new facilities, additional staff, and new programs including master's degrees in criminal justice, architecture, business, and teacher education, all currently in development. In her first year at Fairmont, she secured the necessary external funding for a new classroom building at its off-campus site in Clarksburg. She also has guided the campus in establishing a successful annual fund effort, and, most notably, the single largest grant in the institution's history - a $21 million federal program designed to increase the college-going rate for junior high and high school students. She also has worked closely with West Virginia legislators to fund myriad projects such as improvements to the campus library, the athletic facilities, and the alumni center.

A professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, Dudley-Eshbach hasreceived numerous awards and accolades both in and beyond her area of expertise.Last year she received the Elizabeth Dole Shattered Glass Award from the MarionCounty Chapter of the American Red Cross, given to a woman who has overcomeextraordinary obstacles in the workplace to improve her life and others. In1998, Change magazine recognized her as a Young Leader of the Academy. She waselected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1974, the same year she earned her bachelor'sdegree from Indiana University in Spanish language and literature and in LatinAmerican studies. She completed her doctorate from El Colegio de Mexico in thesame discipline in 1986. Her doctoral dissertation - based on an analysis oftexts by Macedonio Fernandez, the Argentinian author of experimental narrativeliterature who was a precursor to the more famous Jorge Luis Borges - examinedFernandez's writings in relation to the author's own experiences.

Dudley-Eshbach is a native of Baltimore, MD. She grew up in Westminster, MD.

"The Board of Regents believes that Salisbury State University is aninstitution with a particularly bright future, a campus that deserves a leaderwho has both the vision and the experience to move it in that direction,"Chapman said. "We unanimously decided that Janet Dudley-Eshbach is exactlythe right choice, for she will bring to Salisbury a leadership ability, as wellas an infectious passion for learning and exploration, that will further inspirethe students, faculty, and alumni to greatness. Salisbury is a uniqueuniversity, and she is a unique figure in American academia."

Prior to her arrival at Fairmont, Dudley-Eshbach served three years asprovost at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Potsdam. As theinstitution's chief academic and administrative officer, she served on the SUNYResource Allocation Model Committee, the Committee on Education Technology, andin other leadership positions. She was dean of the School of Arts and Sciencesat Potsdam for a year prior to that appointment, and also served in otheradministrative and academic positions at the university beginning in 1988. From1978 to '88, she was on the faculty at Goucher College in Towson, MD, where shetaught Spanish and Latin American studies.

Dudley-Eshbach is a member of American Council of Education's Committee onLeadership and Institutional Effectiveness, the National Association of Women inHigher Education, and the American Association of State Colleges andUniversities. For the latter organization, she serves as vice chair of theCommittee on Global Priorities and Responsibilities.

Dudley-Eshbach was keynote speaker at West Virginia's 1998 Equal EmploymentOpportunity Conference. She was one of 45 leaders from around the world invitedto participate in Oxford University's 1998 roundtable on education policy. Shealso participated in Sen. Jay Rockefeller's trade mission to Taiwan and Japan in1997.

Dudley-Eshbach replaces William C. Merwin, who served as president from 1996until last year. Joel M. Jones, former president of Fort Lewis College inDurango, CO, is serving as interim president.

USM Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg said: "Janet Dudley-Eshbach is agood fit for Salisbury State because they have similar strengths: A vigorousdesire to make a difference, a great respect for teaching and learning, and alove for Maryland that has not diminished during her time in West Virginia andelsewhere. Salisbury is moving up in all of the national academic polls, and Isuspect that Janet's presence will help boost it even higher."

Added Jones: "Having watched Janet Dudley-Eshbach's career closely forthe past several years, I am most pleased that the Regents have appointed her tothe presidency of Salisbury. She has established an impressive record as anacademic administrator in several types of institutions; she works well with allconstituencies, faculty, staff, students, legislators and donors; and she bringsextraordinary energy and enthusiasm to the task at hand. With her deep Marylandroots and her well-informed respect for SSU, she should prove to be a trulyoutstanding president for this fine university."

Dudley-Eshbach said: "It is a great honor to have been selected to serveSalisbury State University as its eighth president. SSU has, over the past 15years, achieved national prominence for its quality faculty, staff, studentbody, and facilities. This appointment represents a unique opportunity for myfamily and me to reconnect with our Maryland roots."

Dudley-Eshbach and her husband have two children.

Founded in 1925 on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Salisbury State Universityoffers 30 undergraduate majors. Master's programs include English, education,nursing, history and business. Salisbury has four endowed schools, a rarityamong public institutions: the Perdue School of Business, the Henson School ofScience and Technology, the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies,and the Fulton School of Liberal Arts. Nationally cited as a "bestvalue," Salisbury offers an honors program for its top scholars andindividual attention to all students. It has more than 5,500 undergraduatestudents, 540 graduate students, and 263 full-time faculty members.

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