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UMES welcomes back Neufville as interim president

  • Monday, August 15, 2011

    PRINCESS ANNE - (Aug. 16, 12011) - Mortimer H. Neufville is on the job as interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he previously held a number of senior administrative posts from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s.

    William Kirwan, the University System of Maryland's chancellor, tapped Neufville to lead UMES while a search is underway to find a replacement for Dr. Thelma B. Thompson. Thompson retired Aug. 15 after serving nine years as UMES president.

    In the week before Thompson officially stepped down, Neufville held "get-acquainted" sessions with senior UMES administrators, deans and department chairs. He also huddled with Thompson to ensure a seamless transition.

    Like Thompson, Neufville, 71, is a native of Jamaica. But he is no stranger to long-serving UMES employees.

    He left Lincoln University in 1983 to become UMES' dean of agricultural science and 1890 Research Director. His leadership performance earned him promotions from the late William P. Hytche, who as president hired him. Neufville held these other posts at UMES:

    Dr. Mortimer H. Neufville and Dr. Thelma B. Thompson meet to discuss the presidential transition

    • Associate director - Maryland Agriculture Experiment Station (1989-94)
    • Associate vice president for academic affairs (1991-93)
    • Acting vice president for academic affairs (1993-94)
    • Vice president for academic affairs (1994-96)

    Neufville has spent his career in higher education reaching out to developing nations to help them improve their agricultural production.

    During his first stint at UMES, he was instrumental in securing a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to work with the nation of Cameroon to improve root and tuber crop yields. At the time, the grant was the largest amount awarded to a historically black institution.

    Neufville left UMES a year before Dr. Hytche retired in 1997 but continued working on agriculture outreach programs from Washington, D.C. with the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.

    Neufville is looking forward to serving as interim president during a historically important moment - the university celebrates its 125th anniversary during the 2011-12 academic year.

    Neufville has a knack for being around UMES during important times in its history. He was on a committee that assembled material for a time capsule during the university's centennial and was also here when it celebrated the 100th anniversary of federal legislation that gave UMES a boost as a land-grant school.

    Kirwan said he asked Neufville to serve as interim president because of his familiarity with UMES and its land-grant mission.

    A committee of advisers from various UMES constituencies is working with Kirwan to identify a pool of candidates from which to pick Thompson's successor.

    x Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355,