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Caret in running for new UMass presidency

6 December 2010 By Daniel Gross, Editor-in-Chief 2 Comments
TU president may leave position if accepted

File Photo by Casey Prather / The Towerlight

Towson University President Robert Caret may leave his current position to become the next president of the University of Massachusetts.

Caret is a “front-runner” for the UMass president position and is competing with a top administrator at the University of Arizona, provost Meredith Hay, as originally reported on bostonherald.com Sunday.

“I informed the Chancellor on Saturday that such an article may appear.  I really don’t want to get into a discussion based on rumors and innuendos,” Caret said in an e-mail response to The Towerlight Monday night. “Suffice it to say that after 16 years in two successful presidencies, I am contacted by institutions and firms inquiring about my interest in a search they are conducting. On occasion, I may have conversations with them; however, I am extremely pleased with the work we are doing and the successes we’ve achieved at Towson University.”

There was no mention of the open UMass position during the monthly University Senate meeting Monday, which Caret attended. Caret did not say if he would accept the position at UMass or if he has been looking to leave the University.

Mass communication professor Richard Vatz sits on the University Senate and was present during Monday’s meeting. Vatz said he was unaware of the UMass possibility, but would not be surprised if Caret were asked to take the seat.

“If President Caret is successful at taking the presidency at a research-intensive university, it would be no surprise,” Vatz said in an e-mail. “He is as knowledgeable and articulate regarding issues confronting higher education as anyone I have ever known.  Also, his political acumen is non pareil.  He has represented Towson’s interests assiduously and impressively, if not perfectly.”

This is not the first time another university has been in communication with Caret for a presidential position. In 2006, Temple University named Caret a finalist in their university president search. That occurred three years after he returned to Towson from serving eight years as the president of San Jose State University in California.

In a Towerlight article on April 27, 2002, Caret responded to that situation.

“Unsolicited on my part, I was recently contacted by a headhunter with an invitation to come, listen and talk about the presidency at Temple University. Admittedly, it is an enticing opportunity. Temple University is a research extensive campus with a budget approaching $2 billion. Towson is still the right place for me and I informed Temple of that decision days ago. I plan on being here for many more years,” he said.

Caret has strong ties to New England, graduating from Suffolk University in Boston in 1969 and receiving a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire in 1974.

He became the 12th president of Towson University in 2003. He was a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost at Towson for 21 years prior to leaving for San Jose State.

The University of Massachusetts’ board of trustees is expected to publicly announce the list of finalists for the position of president later this month.


  • Patrick Dieguez said:

    Dr. Caret an incredible President and human being with great vision and determination. It will be quite a challenge to find someone of his caliber to continue to grow the University and hone the Towson brand if he leaves.

  • keel said:

    Spoken like a true former SGA president.

    Caret has done a great job as an advocate for Towson University. I’ve heard people from other schools complain because all he wants to talk about in meetings is how the topic at hand will benefit Towson. While this isn’t always great for the others in the meeting, it’s the type of person that Towson needs since the school had so often been pushed to the background of the USM concerns. That status has changed under Caret, who has pushed to make the school more prominent.

    That said, he isn’t flawless. He poured millions into the athletic department on the hopes that success there would generate greater interest and awareness for the school. He pushed for Pat Kennedy, who has failed miserably and will likely be gone after this season. He hired Mike Hermann, another selection that proved less than favorable. The jury is out on Mike Waddell since he just started, so we’ll have to see what happens there.

    In the end, Caret will be remembered for overseeing the institution’s growth, the construction of the new liberal arts building, the development of the entire west village plan and increased public awareness.

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