Alan M. Leberknight, a soft-spoken former teacher who helped rescue Baltimore Bancorp from near-collapse when he joined the company in 1991, will leave the bank's successor to become dean of Towson State University's School of Business and Economics, the school announced yesterday.
A one-time president of the Baltimore County school board, Mr. Leberknight, 53, will start at Towson State in April, replacing Acting Dean Ray Castaldi, who will return to his post as associate dean. The school's former dean, Sam Barone, died last July.
The 13-year-old school has 1,953 students. "The No. 1 [priority] is to truly tie the business school as much as possible into the rest of the community," Mr. Leberknight said yesterday. "What I see is the opportunity with my business connections to really build a lot of bridges with the business community."
He said First Fidelity Bancorp., which purchased Baltimore Bancorp last year, has asked him to serve on its advisory board for Maryland.
A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Leberknight taught for five years beginning in 1964, four of them at Overlea High School.
After receiving a master's degree in business administration from Loyola College, he joined Commercial Credit Co. in 1972, and nine years later moved to Union Trust Co. of Baltimore, which later became Signet Bank/Maryland in a merger.
Mr. Leberknight became president and chief executive officer of Baltimore Bancorp's main subsidiary, the Bank of Baltimore, soon after the 1990 change of management that put shipping and trucking executive Edwin F. Hale Sr. in charge.
"Al was my banker at Signet for my companies," Mr. Hale said yesterday, adding that he had recommended Mr. Leberknight for the position at Towson State. "He's not only a very good businessman but an extraordinarily good person."
Mr. Leberknight, along with Chief Financial Officer Joseph A. Cicero, were among the few top executives First Fidelity retained. Mr. Cicero, 50, has been vice chairman and chief executive officer of First Fidelity's Maryland bank, while Mr. Leberknight is president and chief commercial banking officer. Mr. Cicero said he will drop the vice chairman title and become president.
Mr. Leberknight has been a member of the county school board since 1990, and served as its president from July 1993 to July 1994.