The University of Maryland University College named Javier Miyares as its president Monday, effective immediately.
Miyares, 65, has been a member of the UMUC management team for 10 years and its acting president since February, when he took over for Susan Aldridge, who stepped down amid circumstances that remain unclear.
Miyares most recently served as the university's senior vice president for institutional effectiveness. The Adelphi institution, the nation's largest online-focused public university, has more than 95,000 students, including U.S. troops serving overseas, and has locations in 27 countries.
Aldridge stepped down after having been on leave from the university for a month. Her departure was not explained by Maryland higher-education officials, who have declined to say whether Aldridge left voluntarily.
After Aldridge's departure, Miyares acknowledged in a statement that the university had "weathered a challenging period." Former and current employees expressed dissatisfaction with Aldridge's leadership and what they considered her focus on enrollment and revenue over academics.
Miyares served as the University System of Maryland's associate vice chancellor for finance and administration and assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs before joining UMUC's management team. He was born in Cuba and lived in Venezuela after his father was taken prisoner by Fidel Castro after the Bay of Pigs invasion, then moved to the United States, according to UMUC officials.
Miyares holds bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also began a doctorate in educational measurement and statistics before starting work at the campus counseling center. He later completed his dissertation.
In a statement, Miyares said he was "honored and humbled" by his appointment, and that his focus will remain on "academic integrity, transparency, and communication."
Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan said in a statement that Miyares' "vision and commitment and his ability to build consensus make him the ideal person to lead UMUC at this time."
The university said its board of visitors "expressed unanimous support" for Miyares' appointment.
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