After a long, controversial job search, the University of Maryland System Board of Regents has named Errol L. Reese as president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
Yesterday's appointment of Reese, the dean of the UM Dental School since 1975, is effective immediately. The choice had been expected. Reese had been serving as acting president of UMAB since the resignation last month of the previous acting president, William J. Kinnard Jr.
"We are very fortunate to be able to appoint a person with such a long-term and successful association with the University of Maryland at Baltimore," said George V. McGowan, regents chairman, at a news conference attended by about 30 UMAB officials and employees at the downtown campus.
In a brief acceptance speech, Reese, 51, said his experience as dean of the dental school has prepared him well for the presidency of UMAB, which is made up of the schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work, and has an operating budget this year of $288 million.
"We have a fine team in place here. We have some excellent leaders," Reese said. "There are towers of strength on this campus. They're here. I know it now, and together we can get the job done."
An important task of the new president will be finding permanent deans for the schools of dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and social work.
The medical school has not had a permanent dean for more than two years. Reese said he has talked with several candidates for the position. A decision does not appear imminent, however.
Reese takes over the UMAB presidency nearly two years after the school's last permanent president, Edward N. Brandt, left to become the executive dean of the University of Oklahoma medical school. Until September, Reese himself had headed the search committee to fill the post he now holds. He offered himself as a candidate after the regents had judged none of the committee's candidates worthy of the job.
Kinnard, a long-time pharmacy professor at UMAB, became acting president after Brandt's departure in April 1989. Four months later, Harvard University surgeon Augustus A. White 3rd was appointed to the presidency.
White resigned before assuming the post, however, reportedly because of interference from Peter O'Malley, then regents' chairman. O'Malley later was forced to resign in the wake of faculty protests over his clash with White.
Kinnard remained as acting president until he resigned less than a month ago, reportedly after he determined he would not be offered the presidency on a permanent basis.
Reese's ties with UMAB go back to 1968, when he was named assistant professor of restorative dentistry at the dental school. The Fairmont, W.Va., native was appointed associate professor and associate dean in 1973, acting dean in 1974 and dean in 1975. He was promoted to professor in 1978.