CLAYTON Daniel Mote Jr. brings strong academic credentials to the presidency of the University of Maryland, College Park. But the skill that undoubtedly most impressed College Park's search committee is his proven ability to raise money.
During three decades at Berkeley, Dr. Mote attracted attention as a classroom teacher, winning the school's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1971, while also making significant contributions to research in his field.
Yet what earned him a post as vice chancellor was his ability to attract money.
During his five years as chairman of Berkeley's mechanical engineering department, he won enough grants from private sources to endow three professorships and to open labs.
He was made a vice chancellor in 1991, when California's traditionally strong support for higher education was strained by budget deficits. Widely regarded as one of the top public universities in the country, Berkeley suddenly found that raising funds from private sources was critical to preserving and enhancing its academic excellence.
Under Dr. Mote's leadership, the school unveiled a campaign to raise $1.1 billion by the year 2000. It is well on the way toward meeting that goal, having raised $765 million so far.
That is more than twice College Park's current campaign, which seeks $350 million.
Dr. Mote faces significant challenges at College Park. Money is high on the list, given the traditional inability of Maryland's leaders to back up promises of a first-rate, nationally ranked university with the long-term financial commitment it takes to turn talk about superior higher education into reality.
That mismatch between words and actions helped persuade the departing president, William E. Kirwan, to accept the presidency of Ohio State University.
Despite profuse promises from the General Assembly of more funding, much of Dr. Kirwan's tenure was marked by meager increases in state funding not even large enough to keep up with inflation.
Clearly, funding is a big issue for the future of the state's flagship campus.
But Dr. Mote's ability to attract private donations will not be as important as his success in building a consensus in Maryland for a serious, long-term, stable commitment to excellence in public higher education.
Pub Date: 6/03/98