ORONO, Maine — Susan Hunter, the first woman president in the University of Maine’s 150-year history, has agreed to lead the state’s largest campus for an extra year, according to university officials.
Hunter will serve through June 30, 2017, after agreeing to stay one year beyond her two-year appointment as president. University of Maine System Chancellor James Page and the system board of trustees requested that she continue her work, according to a notice sent out to the UMaine community late Tuesday afternoon.
“President Hunter and her leadership team are doing important work on and off campus,” Page said in the announcement. “Her experience and leadership are critical as we work through the significant system changes now underway, especially as these changes will require substantial integration with the flagship and across all campuses.”
Hunter has been serving as president since July 2014, when the previous president, Paul Ferguson, announced he was leaving to become president of Ball State University in Indiana. She was inaugurated in March.
“I look forward to a third year of leading Maine’s flagship university, championing the mission of the state’s research university to constituents statewide and beyond,” Hunter said Tuesday.
The extension means Hunter will stay at the helm of the system’s flagship campus as system officials choreograph complex reorganizational efforts under Page’s One University initiative, aimed at reducing duplication and competition among the system’s seven campuses.
“The University of Maine Board of Visitors overwhelmingly and wholeheartedly supports the decision to extend President Hunter’s term for an additional year,” board chairwoman Anne Lucey said. “We all have the utmost confidence, faith and trust in Sue’s leadership, especially in these challenging times.”
Hunter’s salary for the additional year will be $250,000, which is what she made in each of the previous two years of her contract. The national search for the president who will take over for Hunter is expected to be pushed back until 2016-17.
Starting in September 2013, Hunter served as vice chancellor of academic affairs for the system. She left when she agreed to take the presidency at the university where she spent most of her career. She began working at the Orono campus as a research associate in 1982 and became a full professor in the department of zoology in 1991. She also has worked as chairman of the department of biological sciences, dean of undergraduate admission and more recently as executive vice president of academic affairs and provost.
She’s expected to retire after her extension ends.
System officials are expected to announce the extension during a Wednesday morning news conference at the system’s downtown Bangor headquarters.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.