UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system

By Aviva Luttrell

Collegian file photo
Collegian file photo

Update: 10:08 p.m.

University of Massachusetts President Robert Caret resigned from his position Wednesday to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system.

“While I am excited and energized to return to Maryland, where I have accepted the position of Chancellor at the University System of Maryland, at the same time, I’m saddened that I will be leaving the University of Massachusetts,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

“I have enjoyed my four years working for the benefit of the Commonwealth, but I could not say no to an offer to return to my home state where I will be closer to my family. I will not be leaving for several months and will work with the Board Chair, Henry Thomas, to ensure a smooth and successful transition to new leadership. It has been a great privilege to lead UMass, a world-class university.”

Earlier Wednesday, UMass spokesperson Robert Connolly told the Boston Globe in a statement that Caret “is in serious discussions with the University System of Maryland about its chancellorship, discussions that continue, and has not resigned as president of the University of Massachusetts.”

Connolly could not immediately be reached by the Collegian Wednesday evening.

Chairman Thomas told Wednesday afternoon that Caret had not yet accepted an offer, but that he expected Caret would decide within the next few days. Thomas also said that Caret is factoring in family issues in his decision, as he has relatives in Maryland.

Caret was hired as the UMass president in 2011, succeeding Jack Wilson, who served an eight-year tenure. Previously, Caret was the president of Towson University in Maryland, where he had also served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost, according to the Globe.

The decision comes as a surprise, as Caret recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Board of Trustees.

“While it is disappointing to lose a leader of President Caret’s accomplishment and stature, I think we can all understand Bob’s desire to return to the system where his career began and that served as his professional home for most of his career,” Chairman Thomas said in a statement Wednesday. “Looking ahead, it is my intention to call a special meeting of the Board of Trustees in the near future to provide additional information and develop plans.”

Caret will succeed University of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan, who led the system for the past 12 years, the Globe reported.

The Collegian will provide updates as they become available.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @AvivaLuttrell.