Michael J. Kelly, dean of the University of Maryland School of Law for 17 years, told his faculty last year that he was looking for other opportunities in higher education outside of UM.
But when Kelly resigned yesterday to become a vice president at Georgetown University, some faculty members were surprised and saddened by the news.
"It's a major loss to us; he's done a wonderful job," said Marley Weiss, a UM labor law professor. "It's very sad, but it is a wonderful opportunity for him. He deserves a nice promotion to a higher level in academics."
Kelly, 53, was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the UM at Baltimore last December, a job that went to Errol L. Reese, then UMAB Dental School dean.
At Georgetown, he will help President Leo J. O'Donovan run the daily operations of the Washington liberal arts university, which enrolls 12,000 students. He will be one of five ranking officers at Georgetown and will join the university cabinet's executive committee.
"I've been dean for 17 years and I finally decided what I wanted to do when I grow up and that is to be an academic administrator," Kelly said. "I want to take on something larger in scope than one school."
UM law professor Alan D. Hornstein will become acting dean while Reese assembles a committee for a national search to find Kelly's replacement, said David Taylor, UMAB spokesman. Taylor said a replacement is expected to be named by mid-1992.
Kelly said he is proud he was able to build the UM law school in size and "intellectual" strength. During his tenure, the faculty ranks grew from 30 to 50, with enrollment at 750 students this year.
He also instituted mandatory student public service, a unique program where students represent indigent clients in their first and second years of law school, and helped oversee an increase in private donations, which totaled $1.5 million in 1990.
"It's a more lively and dynamic place intellectually than it was 17 years ago," Kelly said. "Chiefly, we have recruited some very able faculty and the quality of the student body has improved."