Mickey L. Burnim will serve as Coppin State University’s interim president, university system officials announced Wednesday, as a search committee looks for a permanent leader for the historically black school in West Baltimore.
Burnim will start July 1, after current Coppin State President Maria Thompson steps down at the end of June.
Coppin State University president Maria Thompson wrote in an email to supporters that she would be returning to her native city of Nashville following her recent marriage and a lengthy recovery from a “serious health challenge.”
Burnim served as president of Bowie State University, another historically black Maryland college, from 2006 to 2017. He was also interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore last summer, before its permanent president started.
“We are grateful to Mickey Burnim for his ongoing service to the University System of Maryland,” University System of Maryland Chancellor Bob Caret said in a statement. “Dr. Burnim very capably guided the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on an interim basis last summer, and his considerable experience and perspective position him quite well to lead Coppin during the course of a search for President Thompson’s successor.”
The search process for a new president at most USM campuses takes between eight months to a year to finish. A search committee has been appointed and will recommend finalists to the Board of Regents, who will make the final call.
The search process already has drawn some criticism. The president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP charged the regents last week with a lack of transparency in the process of selecting a new Coppin State leader.
Kobi Little said the regents have waited months to start a search and failed to appoint a representative of the NAACP to the search committee.
Thompson, Coppin’s first female president, announced in January that she would be stepping down to move out of state.
The regents appointed 19 individuals from a variety of backgrounds to the search committee, university system spokesman Mike Lurie said in a statement.