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Maravene Loeschke( Erin Kirkland, Baltimore Sun photo / July 2, 2013 )
66, President of Towson University
Maravene Loeschke expected backlash when she announced plans to cut the Towson University baseball and men's soccer teams, but not the firestorm she got.
Athletes and alumni vilified her. Maryland's comptroller called for her resignation. Even the governor intervened to help save TU baseball.
"It was a very brutal time," said Loeschke. A task force recommended the cuts, but Loeschke took the heat for carrying out the recommendation.
"It was a very difficult decision to make, the most difficult of my career, without question," she said. "But it was the right decision to make, and [now] we move on."
Loeschke has been university president since January 2012, but her Towson ties go back decades. She studied theater and English there. Soon after graduation in 1969, Loeschke was bound for New York City when Towson asked if she could stick around for a while and teach some acting classes.
She stayed 33 years. She took a 10-year break in 2002 to lead two Pennsylvania schools, then returned to Towson's helm.
Loeschke, who is married, acted in countless productions, did four one-woman shows and directed 20 plays. She earned a master's degree in education and a doctorate in philosophy.
As president, her focus is on the university's teacher-preparation and leadership programs and encouraging all 22,000 students to think about how they can apply their talents to a life of service.
"She wants to see the university be a place of opportunity for students, but also an engine for progress for the larger community," said university system Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan.
The work is worth it, Loeschke said.
"I have no regrets," she said. "No, I think things worked out just the way they were supposed to."
-- Tricia Bishop