UMB's Ramsay to step down Monday

Baltimore Sun

With his successor named and questions swirling from a state audit released last week, David J. Ramsay has announced he will step down as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore on Monday.

"Given that the search is now complete and given the need for further review of issues raised in the legislative audit that involve the president's office, I have concluded that it is in the university's best interest that I step down at this time," Ramsay said in a statement.

He declined requests for an interview.

On Tuesday, the university announced that Jay Perman, dean of the University of Kentucky's medical school, will become UMB's next president in July. E. Albert Reece, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will serve as acting president until Perman arrives.

The audit, released last week, says that under Ramsay's watch, a high-ranking administrator received $410,000 in questionable payments. It says that Ramsay directly approved four payments, totaling $350,000, to the employee in fiscal 2007. Payroll records showed that former law school dean Karen H. Rothenberg was the recipient.

Some colleagues have stepped forward to say the payments were necessary to keep Rothenberg in her job during a record-setting capital campaign for the school. But Chancellor William E. Kirwan announced a system investigation of the matter, and university officials are expected to face tough questions at legislative hearings today and Monday.

It's unclear if the audit hastened Ramsay's departure. When Ramsay announced his impending retirement last summer, he said he would step down once his successor was chosen.

UMB enjoyed explosive growth during Ramsay's 15-year tenure, with graduate schools achieving elite national rankings and annual research funding soaring close to $500 million.

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