TOWSON UNIVERSITY — Dr. Mark L. Perkins officially takes office as Towson’s president today, hoping to end months of speculation and rumor that have plagued him since he was named Hoke L. Smith’s successor back on Feb. 6.
Perkins, who comes to Towson after serving seven years as the chancellor at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, has been dogged by reports of sexual discrimination in the last two months. Monday will mark his first official day at work, and the first day he can personally put those rumors to rest.
“I will not tolerate and do not tolerate discrimination or unfairness,” Perkins said in a May interview with The Towerlight. “Everyone is and will be treated – in all of our processes and procedures – even.”
Aside from dispelling the rumors, one of the biggest tasks facing Perkins as Towson’s president will be to address some of the concerns put forth in the 118-page report produced by the committee which handled the recent institutional review. The biggest issues raised were the University’s “lack of goals,” and a shortage of fundraising. Perkins had a strong track record in both of those areas in his tenure at UWGB.
In his seven years at the helm at Wisconsin-Green Bay, Perkins increased funding for the University from both the state government and endowments. Over the past seven years he increased the University’s total endowments from $2.46 million to $10.75 million by the Fall 2000 semester.
Still, Perkins has maintained all along that he will listen to the concerns of the Towson community before making any sweeping changes.
“My first priority is to listen very carefully to this campus community, identify with the campus community its strengths and help take it to the next level,” he said when he was first hired.
Perkins does immediately face the need to fill out his staff, which has opened up through numerous departures since Smith announced his retirement in the fall of 1999. Most pressing are the needs for a new permanent provost as well as an executive vice president, a position that opened just last week when Joanne Glasser announced she was leaving the University.
“I think that when I come to the University I’m going to have to look at what our needs are,” Perkins said in May. “And we’re going to have to see how that matches up with what we sense needs to be done in order to take the institution forward.”