maroon wave
Leadership Maryland graduation
From left: Eli Modlin, SU chief of staff and vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives, and Leadership Maryland board member and alumnus; Dr. Dane Foust, SU vice president of student affairs and Leadership Maryland alumnus; John Hickman, SU Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) director and 2023 Leadership Maryland graduate; SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, 2023 Leadership Maryland graduate; and Dr. Michael Scott, dean of SU's Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, and Leadership Maryland alumnus.

SU's Lepre, Hickman Graduate from Leadership Maryland

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University President Carolyn Ringer Lepre and John Hickman, director of SU’s Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON), recently joined peers from across the state in graduating as part of the Leadership Maryland Class of 2023.

They were among 48 applicants chosen by committee to complete Leadership Maryland’s eight-month hands-on learning program. The class participated in an orientation and closing retreat that bookended five, two-day sessions focused on Maryland’s five main geographic regions and the most vital issues impacting economic development, education, health and human services, criminal justice, the environment and multi-culturalism/diversity across the state.

“From the very beginning, the members of this year’s class demonstrated their willingness to engage and learn as we traveled around the state” said David Fike ’16 (LM), president and chief executive officer of Leadership Maryland. “They truly embraced this experience, and I am excited to see how they will apply it.”

Dr. Carolyn Ringer Lepre

Since becoming SU’s 10th President in 2022, Lepre has placed a strong focus on investing in SU’s community, especially students, faculty and staff, growing strategically to better serve the needs of the Eastern Shore and Maryland, along with many other initiatives.

During her inaugural State of the University address in February, she announced goals including increasing graduate and undergraduate enrollment, enhancing national rankings, expanding diversity and inclusion leadership, introducing new varsity athletics such as men’s and women’s golf, increasing scholarship funding and exploring the creation of new academic pathways.

She also discussed plans for a dynamic physical campus changing to better meet student needs, including a new home for SU’s College of Health and Human Services and the transformation of Blackwell Hall, the former University library, into a centralized hub for student services.

Since then, she has announced additional initiatives, including the formalization of SU’s graduate school; new proposed academic programs including a master’s degree in public communication; and bachelor’s degrees in engineering and in music therapy; and an expansion of study abroad opportunities through the SU Global Campus.

She has received honors from organizations and publications including the Baltimore-based Daily Record, which has recognized her among Maryland’s Top 100 Women and named her to the 2023 Higher Education Power List.

John Hickman

Hickman has served as director of BEACON since 2021. In that role, he oversees applied business and economic research support for public and private entities spanning from local businesses, to state governments, to Fortune 500 companies.

He also directs BEACON’s regional initiatives, including the Eastern Shore Business Sentiment Survey, which collects and reports the views of local business leaders; and GraySHORE, focusing on opportunities and challenges created by Delmarva’s aging population.

In addition, he supervises the SU students who conduct up to 85% of BEACON’s applied research work under faculty supervision.

Prior to his current role with BEACON, Hickman spent two decades as director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maryland Small Business Development Center — Eastern Region, affiliated with the Perdue School.

Founded in 1992, Leadership Maryland is an independent, educational, non-profit organization designed to inform top-level executives, from the public and private sectors, about the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing Maryland and its regions. It is one of 34 state leadership programs nationwide and has graduated over 1,300 statewide leaders.

Learn more about opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.