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Mortimer H. Neufville named president of Coppin State University

7/12/2013, 7:06 a.m.
The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents named Mortimer H. Neufville, Ph.D., the next president of Coppin State ...
The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents named Mortimer H. Neufville, Ph.D., the next president of Coppin State University. Courtesy photo

— The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents named Mortimer H. Neufville, Ph.D., the next president of Coppin State University. He will serve a two-year term in the position, effective immediately through June 30, 2015.

Neufville has served as interim president of Coppin State University (CSU) since January 23, 2013. His appointment as interim president followed the news of former president Reginald Avery's announcement in October 2012 that he would resign his position at CSU, effective January 22, 2013.

During his tenure as interim president, Neufville has played a critical role in advancing the university's future while the Board of Regents Special Review Committee conducted its thorough analysis on Coppin State. In December 2012, the board established a committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the university and develop strategies to increase student retention and graduation rates, improve administrative operations and financial stability, and build a culture focused on success.

In June 2013, the board approved an implementation plan for the strategies recommended by the review committee. Neufville led the effort to create the Implementation Plan, which the board approved unanimously.

The plan makes a number of major recommendations centered on three major goals: 1) increase student retention and graduation rates; 2) strengthen academic programs and faculty; and 3) improve administrative operations and financial stability.

"Dr. Neufville's steady leadership during a transitional time at Coppin State University has been of great value. The board believes he is in a unique position to oversee the Implementation Plan during these first two critical years," said James L. Shea, chair of the Board of Regents. "In approving the plan, the board pledged to continue proactive oversight of Coppin and the Regents look forward to working with Dr. Neufville."

The plan includes more than 50 activities that address all three goals with proactive, attainable and immediate actions to impact Coppin's efforts to grow enrollment, improve administration and finance operations and restructure the academic enterprise. Neufville will have the primary responsibility for ensuring the plan is fully implemented.

"Mort Neufville is the ideal person to lead Coppin at this time in the institution's development," said USM Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan. "Throughout the difficult task of assessing the university's strengths and challenges, Dr. Neufville has brought great wisdom, insight and civility to the process. His two-year commitment to lead Coppin State will provide the continuity needed to ensure the Board's approved plan is successfully implemented in full, which will enable the university to better serve its community and the state."

Neufville previously served the USM in his role as interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), for nearly a year beginning August 16, 2011 before Juliette B. Bell began her service as UMES president in July 2012.

"I am honored to accept the appointment as Coppin State University's sixth president. The next two years provides an opportunity to lead the actions set forth in the CSU Implementation Plan Report. I thank the Chancellor and members of the Board of Regents for their confidence in me," Neufville said. "Coppin State University plays an important role in educating and transforming the lives of many people in this community. I look forward to working collaboratively with the campus community to continue achieving great outcomes for Coppin State."

Neufville received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in animal science from the University of Florida. In 2001, he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Tuskegee University, from which he earned his B.S. degree. The University of Florida honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in December 2001. He held several prominent positions during his 14 years at UMES in addition to vice president for academic affairs, including dean of agricultural sciences and research director.

One of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland, Coppin State is a historically black, four-year university offering 28 undergraduate majors and 12 graduate-degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing. The university has earned local, national, and international recognition for its information technology efforts, including being the first historically black university to receive the prestigious Educause Award for Excellence in Networking. To learn more about Coppin, visit: www.coppin.edu.