AUGUSTA, Maine — The next leader of the University of Maine at Augusta comes by way of a small, private Maryland university, where he served as the first male president.
James Conneely takes his new post overseeing the University of Maine at Augusta and its campus in Bangor on Jan. 19, University of Maine System officials announced Tuesday. He was picked from a field of more than 70 applicants.
Conneely served as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University — a small school founded by Catholic sisters in 1873 where about 95 percent of the 1,600 students are female — for a year, starting in 2012.
“It is a privilege to bring my experience in expanding access and passion for student service and success to a university so focused on helping learners of all types and from all corners of Maine think bigger and achieve more,” Conneely said in a written statement.
After leaving NDMU, he became a senior consultant at Keeling & Associates Inc., a Massachusetts-based higher education consulting firm, according to his resume. Before his time at NDMU, he worked nearly a decade at Eastern Kentucky University, serving in roles including associate provost and vice president for student affairs. He also has worked at the University of Arkansas, Emory University in Atlanta, Villanova University and the University of Northern Iowa.
Conneely was named one of three finalists for the UMA position in September. His salary will be $192,000 under his initial contract, which lasts through June 30, 2018, pending annual extensions, according to UMS spokesman Dan Demeritt.
“A review of Jim Conneely’s credentials and accomplishments makes it clear he is ready to lead this university,” UMS Chancellor James Page said. “He has built a 30-year career identifying, enrolling, supporting and graduating the very same students we work so hard to reach here at UMA.”
System officials say UMA has built a reputation serving nontraditional students, such as those who may be returning to complete an unfinished education or those seeking a career change. Conneely will be charged with building on that.
Rebecca Wyke, who has been filling an interim role as UMA president since July, will return to her former post in the system office as vice chancellor of finance and administration.
“The faculty and staff at UMA bring incredible energy, talent and devotion to the job of educating learners of all ages and backgrounds,” Wyke said in a written statement. “I have enjoyed this campus-based opportunity to serve and look forward to working closely with President Conneely and the entire UMA leadership team as I resume my duties as vice chancellor.”
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