Kim Schatzel, the president of Towson University since 2016, is leaving to become the president of the University of Louisville.

The board of trustees of the Kentucky school unanimously approved Schatzel’s hiring on Wednesday, according to a news release, and the move was announced shortly afterward.

At a press conference, Schatzel, 66, said she was excited about the opportunity and thanked those she’s worked with in Maryland.

“I also want to offer my gratitude to the regents of the University System of Maryland ... for all the support they have given me and Towson University in the nearly seven years I’ve served as president,” she said at the news conference. She went on to thank TU’s faculty, staff and alumni. “And most importantly, the students of Towson University. I cannot say thank you enough, and know that TU will always have a special place in my heart.”

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June 16, 2022 — A pedestrian bridge on the Towson University campus. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Jay Perman, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said in a statement that Schatzel’s move speaks to her talent and drive.

“TU has become significantly more diverse with Dr. Schatzel at the helm, boasting the second-largest population of students of color in the state, and a racial/ethnic makeup that’s now nearly identical to Maryland’s,” his statement read.

He also said the USM board will soon launch a national search for a successor to Schatzel, who also serves on the board of directors for the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. called Schatzel a “transformative and visionary leader” who helped push a new era of innovation at Towson.

“On behalf of the residents of Baltimore County, we thank Dr. Schatzel for her years of devoted service to Towson’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our entire community,” he said in a statement. “While she will be greatly missed, we wish her nothing but the best in her next steps as the next President of the University of Louisville.”

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Schatzel starts her new job Feb. 1. She will receive a $925,000 annual salary, with an additional $200,000 a year toward her retirement.

A New York native, Schatzel received a bachelor’s degree in biology and economics at Washington University in St. Louis. She has a doctorate degree in business administration from Michigan State University.

Prior to taking the helm at Towson University, Schatzel served as the provost of Eastern Michigan University and dean of the College of Business at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The University of Louisville’s news release touts Schatzel’s record of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and building a strong academic profile at Towson, which has nearly 17,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students.

“And TU is one of few universities in the nation where Black, Latinx and Pell-eligible students achieve the same graduation rate as the overall student population,” the news release stated.

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She will become the second woman to lead the University of Louisville. She noted Wednesday that she’s a first-generation college student, like one out of three U of L students.

“I hope they see themselves in me,” Schatzel said.