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Dr. Charles Wight
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The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has appointed Charles Wight president of Salisbury University (SU), beginning July 1, 2018. Wight will succeed Janet Dudley-Eshbach, who announced last fall her plans to step down from the position after 18 years.
Wight has served since 2013 as president of Weber State University (WSU) in Ogden, Utah, a public regional institution of higher education with 28,000 students. At Weber State, he pursued five priorities: college affordability; diversity and inclusion; maintaining a beautiful and sustainable campus; improving student success; and building mutually positive relationships with the host community.
“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I’m delighted that Charles Wight is bringing his breadth of experience to lead Salisbury University as its next president,” said USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady. “His list of accomplishments at Weber State University reflects a visionary style that helped his institution attain the kinds of successes that align with current priorities at Salisbury. We look forward to having Dr. Wight become a part of the USM family.”
“In an era of competing pressures on higher education, Charles Wight realized an impressive number of milestones during roughly five years of leading Weber State,” said USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. “His acumen in fundraising, growing student enrollment, and working seamlessly with state and private funding sources position him well to continue Salisbury University’s strong tradition of success.”
During his five years as Weber State’s president, the university achieved significant progress. Wight led a $164 million fundraising campaign that exceeded the original goal by $39 million. Need-based financial aid was expanded to make the university more accessible to students from modest means. He created the school’s first LGBT Resource Center, named its first chief diversity officer and opened a Community Education Center in downtown Ogden to guide students of color through the application and financial aid processes.
The campus also expanded under Wight’s leadership. Student enrollment grew by 5.3%, while more than $150 million in state, private and institutional funding supported the construction or renovation of eight new buildings for science, business, social science, library, student recreation and residence, health and engineering. And under his guidance, Weber State boasts the fastest growing computer science and engineering programs in Utah.
Despite this growth, Weber State’s campus became more sustainable during Wight’s tenure through the implementation of conservation programs that save $2 million per year on fuel, power and water.
“I am both honored and delighted by the opportunity to serve as president of Salisbury University,” Wight said. “It’s a great institution, and I’m looking forward to joining the team in July.”
Wight is known across Weber State’s campus as “Chuck.” A professor of chemistry and an expert in chemical explosions, he demonstrates his commitment to undergraduate education by teaching an Honors General Chemistry course every spring semester. He is also known for conducting science demonstrations at campus events.
The son of two teachers and raised in Northern Virginia, Wight earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Virginia in 1977 and his Ph.D. at Caltech in 1982. Following two years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Colorado, he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Utah in 1984, rising to associate professor in 1990 and professor in 1993.
Between 1999 and 2012, Wight took on a host of administrative and leadership roles at the University of Utah, including stints as president of the Academic Senate, academic coordinator of web-based instruction, associate dean of undergraduate instruction, assistant vice president of continuing education and associate vice president of academic affairs. From 2009 to 2012, he served as dean of the Graduate School.
Wight’s research interests focus on physical chemistry, the chemistry of explosives and propellants, and the kinetics of solid state reactions and thermal analysis. He has also been deeply involved in the development of online learning tools for general chemistry and college readiness in mathematics.
Wight is the author or co-author of more than 170 academic papers. He has continued his research throughout his time as an administrator, contributing to seven papers published in academic journals during his time as Weber State’s president.
As president of a university located in a former railroad town, Wight was deeply involved with the local community. He served on nine non-profit boards, including the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the Utah Technology Council, and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.
Wight is married to Victoria Rasmussen and is the father of three grown daughters. In his free time, he enjoys running, backpacking, learning to play golf, and serving as a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West, a nonprofit charity providing free non-emergency medical transportation for patients with compelling needs.
Wight was named by the Board of Regents from a small pool of finalists recommended by a search and screening committee. The group was led by Regent D’Ana Johnson and included representatives from Salisbury University faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and from the greater community.
Home to more than 8,700 students from across the U.S. and around the world, Salisbury University has a reputation for excellence in public higher education. Students may choose from 60 undergraduate majors, master’s degrees and doctoral programs. A creative curriculum emphasizes undergraduate research, study abroad, professional internships and community engagement. SU consistently ranks among the nation’s top colleges and best values according to The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s and others. Sea Gull athletics teams have earned 20 NCAA Division III national championships. The beautiful 200-acre campus, a national arboretum, is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, just 30 miles from Atlantic beaches and a few hours from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.salisbury.edu.
University System of Maryland:
The USM is the state’s public higher education system. USM’s 12 institutions, two regional higher education centers, and system office work closely together to leverage their collective expertise and resources, share best practices, increase the system’s effectiveness and efficiency, and advance USM’s mission to improve the quality of life in Maryland.