Towson University has tapped an administrator at George Mason University with experience supporting diversity on campus to become its next president.

The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents on Wednesday named Mark Ginsberg as the Baltimore County institution’s 15th president, according to a letter delivered to the campus community. Ginsberg will take office on Oct. 30.

The incoming president is currently provost and executive vice president for George Mason University in Virginia, where Maryland officials say he has a history of putting the student experience first. Maryland leaders highlighted Ginsberg’s prior emphasis on recruiting, retaining and supporting diverse groups of students, faculty, staff and communities.

His hiring comes at a critical time for American universities, some of which are facing major changes to their admissions practices in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. The decision effectively bans race-conscious admission policies used by many public and private institutions to increase minority students’ access to higher education.

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University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman’s letter announcing the appointment called Towson’s diverse student body of about 20,000 similar to that of George Mason, which is a majority-minority university.

“Mark has a habit of rising at every organization he joins,” Perman said in the release. “He’s told me he intends to center the vision of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, and invite them to imagine the future of TU together. So I’m excited to see how his collaborative leadership shapes Towson’s next chapter and accelerates achievement of the goals that all of TU holds close.”

Ginsberg was not immediately available for an interview Wednesday, Towson officials said. In a university news release, the newly appointed president said he was thrilled to join the Towson community and hopes to position the university as an “engine of opportunity” in its next era.

“I was drawn to TU because of its mission and everything it embodies: academic innovation, personal and workforce development, inclusive excellence, and community stewardship,” Ginsberg said in a statement. “TU is an engine for success for its students, the Greater Baltimore region, and the entire state. As we enter the next phase of growth together, I believe we have the opportunity, and a shared responsibility, to go from ‘great to even greater.’”

Ginsberg replaces Kim Schatzel, who had served as Towson’s 14th president since 2016. Schatzel’s departure was announced in November after she was hired to lead the University of Louisville in Kentucky. University system leaders in February appointed Towson provost Melanie Perreault to serve as the school’s interim president. Perreault said in a statement that she looks forward to working closely with Ginsberg. It was not immediately clear whether she sought to retain the position.

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Maryland’s Board of Regents say they conducted an “intensive” national search for Schatzel’s replacement that was led by board member Ellen Fish alongside the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller. Towson faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members also served on the search committee.

Ginsberg, who said he has lived in Maryland for more than 40 years, was blown away during the search process by the university’s energy as well as its support of diversity, equity, inclusion and its commitment to “belonging.”

Officials were extremely pleased to have hired a leader of Ginsberg’s caliber, Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden said in a news release Wednesday. He holds a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Cortland and later earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. Ginsberg is also a licensed psychologist in Maryland and completed a fellowship in clinical psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

This story will be updated.

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