BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey is stepping down as president at the end of the month, but will continue to work for the university through the end of her contract, which expires June 30, 2019.
Ms. Mazey, who has been with the university since 2011, announced the news at a board meeting Friday and received a standing ovation from trustees and the audience.
“I think it’s now time for me to say ‘Let somebody else take the reins and take BGSU to higher heights,’” she said.
The board named Senior Vice President and Provost Rodney Rogers interim president. He has been with the university 11 years, first as the college of business dean and then as provost. His current salary is $341,879, and trustees have not yet determined what his compensation will be as interim president.
Ms. Mazey, 68, said she intends to assist with her successor’s transition and will work on the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $200 million by 2020. To date the campaign has raised $110 million.
Under terms of her contract, she’ll be paid 80 percent of her current $424,500 annual salary - $339,600 - for her work in 2018. She’ll then be paid $47,819 for the last six months of her tenure with BGSU.
She called her time as the university’s president “an honor and pleasure of my life.” Ms. Mazey began as BGSU president in July, 2011.
A former provost and vice president of academic affairs at Auburn University, she replaced Carol Cartwright, who was hired as interim president at BGSU in 2008.
Ms. Mazey received a doctoral degree in urban geography in 1977 from the University of Cincinnati and taught there for two years.
She left for Wright State University in 1979, where she was founding director of the Center for Urban and Public Affairs, serving in that capacity from 1983 to 1994.
Trustees praised Ms. Mazey Friday for her leadership. During her tenure, enrollment grew, retention and graduation rates improved, and private funding increased, they said. She also oversaw more than $500 million in infrastructure improvements.
Trustees unanimously awarded Ms. Mazey a president emeritus title.
“In the last six years, the place has been transformed,” trustee James Bailey said. “You're going out on a tremendous high with tremendous success, and you deserve all the accolades.”
David Jackson, a political science instructor and the faculty union president, said said he’ll miss Ms. Mazey both professionally and personally. He commended her willingness to work with the faculty during contract negotiations.
“She made a commitment when she got here to improve the relationship between the faculty union and the administration... But also to make a serious commitment to improve the compensation and working conditions of the faculty here,” he said.
Board Chair Megan Newlove said trustees will begin the search for a new university president in the spring.
“I hope that the next president comes in with the same commitment to problem solving,” Mr. Jackson said.
In other business, BGSU trustees approved a plan that will lock in tuition rates for undergraduate students for four years, begining in fall 2018. Trustees call it the Falcon Tuition Guarantee Plan and approved it unanimously with no discussion.
The plan will freeze tuition, couse and class fees, and room and board rates for the duration of a student’s undergraduate career. What you pay as a freshman is what you’ll pay as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Tuition and fees will also be frozen for students who are in five-year programs, and the freeze applies whether students are enrolled full- or part-time.
State law, enacted in 2013, allows state universities to raise tuition if the amount is guaranteed for four years.
“I think it’s important because when families think about sending their sons or daughters off to college, they wonder what it’s going to cost,” Ms. Mazey said. “Now they know, and it makes it a lot easier for them to plan.”
It also makes it easier for the unviersity to budget, Ms. Newlove said.
First-year accounting student Peyton King, of Akron, said she would have liked to have that guarantee when she enrolled last year. She said it’s an incentive for future BGSU cohorts.
“I think it’s a good thing for financial planning so you know what you’re getting yourself into,” she said.
Ohio State University, Ohio University, Miami University, University of Dayton, University of Akron, and Cleveland State University have enacted similar four-year tuition guarantee plans. The University of Toledo has not.
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