Donald F. Boesch, who has been at the helm of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science for 27 years, announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down as president next year.I was working at the Academy of Natural Sciences Benedict Estuarine Reseach Lab when Don Boesch was hired at UMCES. It was a big deal at the time, because the UMCES director is the overall head of the State of Maryland's research institutions that worked on the Chesapeake Bay. He was a notoriously effective bureaucratic infighter, a strong advocate for his own organizations. The kind of man beloved of his own staff, and feared by the competition. We were the competition.
Boesch, who has had the second longest tenure as a leader at one of the University System of Maryland’s 12 independent institutions, has served under three chancellors, five governors and several different Boards of Regents. Only seven faculty members present when he started in 1989 are still there — out of 73 total within the center’s four laboratories.
“Our status is stronger than it has ever been,” Boesch said at a live-streamed address today. “The best thing I could do for the future success of UMCES is to stand aside and let a new leader take over.”As Charles de Gaulle is reported to have said "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." Except he said it in French, and sounding like he was holding his nose.
Boesch said he came to the decision to step down this summer because of his confidence that the institution was in a solid place and his desire to pass the baton to someone who could infuse the programs and research with fresh energy. He will stay on the faculty for a while after he steps down and will embark on a couple of writing projects.
University System officials said they plan to convene a committee within the month and conduct a nationwide search for the next leader. Boesch will stay on until August 2017, and urged faculty and students to submit names of qualified candidates.