What you need to know about Darryll Pines, the next University of Maryland president

Darryll Pines was chosen as the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park.

When then-University of Maryland president William “Brit” Kirwan met a young assistant professor named Darryll Pines in 1995, he could instantly tell that the man was “destined for great things.”

Pines went on to become the dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, help secure the largest donation in the university’s history and, on Wednesday, was appointed the state flagship’s next president.


“With Darryll, you get the whole package,” Kirwan said.

Pines, 55, will take over July 1.


Here’s what you need to know about his appointment:

He knows UMD

Pines will oversee a campus of more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and a $2.1 billion operating budget. Luckily, he’s very familiar with it.

He started in College Park as an assistant professor in 1995, before assuming his role as dean in 2009.

Since then, he’s helped raise the engineering school’s one-year undergraduate retention rate to 91% and its five-year graduation rate is 75%, according to the university system. Pines also increased the number of tenured and tenure-track women faculty, and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the university’s last capital campaign.

“I am well acquainted with and have long admired the outstanding faculty, the executive leadership, and the passionate and civically engaged alumni and students who make Maryland such a special place," Pines said in a statement. "I’m excited by this new challenge and can’t wait to listen, learn, and lead this incredible university.”

His family is also closely tied to College Park: He is the father of former River Hill High School and Terps soccer standout Donovan Pines, who now plays with D.C. United of Major League Soccer.

There will be challenges

Pines is replacing Wallace Loh, whose 10-year tenure was marred by a scandal stemming from the death of football player Jordan McNair.

And it was one of several incidents that rocked the university community over the past several years.


After McNair’s heatstroke death in May 2018, a pair of investigations found that the 19-year-old offensive lineman did not receive proper medical treatment and that the football team fostered “a culture where problems festered because too many players feared speaking out.”

Shortly after, freshman Olivia Paregol died of complications from adenovirus, sparking questions about whether the university — which had seen several cases of the illness — should have done more to prevent her death.

And the university is still grappling with the death of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a 23-year-old black Bowie State student who was stabbed in 2017 at a College Park bus stop by a white former student. Sean Urbanski was convicted of first-degree murder in December, but Prince George’s County prosecutors weren’t able to secure a hate crime conviction.

“I’ve heard wonderful things about Dean Pines, but I think it’ll be an interesting transition,” said Student Government Association President Ireland Lesley. “There’s a lot of distrust between student body and administration.”

Pines’ background

He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He holds a number of national positions, including secretary for the Executive Committee of the National GEM Consortium, a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority graduate students pursuing a career in STEM.


Pines was awarded the Maryland House of Delegates Speaker’s Medallion, presented to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the state, in 2015.

He took a leave of absence from the university from 2003 to 2006 and served as a program manager within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. There, he worked on five programs related to aerospace technologies.

What about College Park?

College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said he looks forward to working with Pines. Loh brought the relationship between the city and university much closer, and the two entities are now working together to rebuild City Hall as a shared space.

“We have a lot of momentum in our work together,” Wojahn said, “so I have confidence and faith that Dr. Pines will continue in the strong spirit of collaboration between the city and the university.”

State Sen. Jim Rosapepe, who represents College Park, said the big question people who live in Prince George’s County will be asking now is how Pines plans to continue Loh’s work championing development in the area.

“How he will build on Wallace’s legacy on deep engagement with community development is yet to be seen," Rosapepe said. “I look forward to working with him to do it.”