Kirwan said Neufville is doing a "superb" job, and that the campus has gotten "completely organized." Teams have been assembled to lead various action items under a strict timeline, and the board will receive interim reports to show progress.

"For him to try to carry out this difficult task carrying the title 'interim president' just didn't seem to really represent the kind of leadership we are expecting of him," Kirwan said.

Baltimore state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, who was a member of the Coppin committee and represents the university's district, said it would take about two years for the recommendations to be implemented and that Neufville was "certainly fully equipped to do what needs to be done."

She expects the university system to establish a search committee during his tenure to determine "who we're going to bring in as the president who will lead us through the 21st century."

Coppin has been targeted for transformation before. A 2001 report recommended an influx of cash to make up for years of underfunding at Coppin and other historically black colleges and universities.

A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore lawyer and former Board of Regents member, said he had no opinion on Neufville's appointment, but he was skeptical about the plan to revitalize Coppin, given years of seeming apathy by university system leaders.

"The proof is going to be in the pudding," he said. "I would be pleasantly surprised if they were moving in the right direction."

Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this article.

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