UMaine leader Kennedy to resign

Posted March 16, 2010, at 10:19 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine President Robert Kennedy today will announce he is stepping down from the position he has held for nearly five years, a UM spokesman confirmed Tuesday night.

Kennedy will remain president until June 1, 2011, said spokesman Joe Carr, after which he will take another position within the University of Maine System.

“He’ll be staying with the university and continue to work on efforts related to the university and the university system,” Carr said.

Kennedy could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Plans have not been set for a search for a new president, Carr said. The office of UMS Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude will conduct that search.

A Minnesota native, Kennedy arrived at UMaine in 2000, first serving as vice president for academic affairs and provost, followed by an eight-month stint as interim president.

Kennedy was one of two finalists in February 2009 for a position as president of Kansas State University, but was not hired. His UM salary at the time, according to a Bangor Daily News story, was $210,405. His salary was the second-lowest of the presidents of flagship state universities in the nation, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kennedy’s contract had an addendum which went into effect Jan. 1, 2007, which provided for a lump sum bonus payment of $174,057 in 2012, if he remained in his position at that time, subject to review by the chancellor. The bonus was to have come from the private University of Maine Foundation, and not from taxpayer or tuition funds, Carr said last year.

Kennedy graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 1968. After service in the U.S. Army, he earned a doctorate in botany from the University of California, Berkeley.

He began his career on the faculty of the University of Iowa, followed by faculty and administrative appointments at Washington State University, The Ohio State University, the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University.

Immediately before coming to UM, Kennedy served for eight years as vice president for research and associate provost for graduate studies at Texas A&M.

Kennedy’s wife, Mary Rumpho Kennedy, is a biochemistry professor at UMaine.

Carr said last year that Robert Kennedy is the first active UM president to be inducted into the Stillwater Society, which recognizes donors who have given at least $25,000 to the university. Kennedy and Rumpho Kennedy were honored in 2007.

Kennedy also has overseen private fundraising of more than $100 million since he took over as president, Carr said last year.

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