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People Watch
University Business, Aug 2004

Key presidential shakeups impacted two public university systems this summer. Peter Hoff, president of the University of Maine for seven years, resigned one week after Chancellor Joseph Westphal asked him to step down. Hoff's decision followed some months of disagreement over the strategic plan for the seven-campus system. He has been looking for other work and most recently was a finalist for the presidency at the University of Nebraska. J.B. Milliken was selected instead. Hoff is reportedly entitled to a one-year paid sabbatical and a nontenured professorship...

Regents at the University of Hawaii fired President Evan Dobelle in mid-June. While they didn't offer an explanation for the dismissal, the regents did say the action was taken "with cause," a sure sign they do not want to pay Dobelle a $2 million severance package. By early July, the regents and Dobelle agreed to hire a mediator in the effort to avoid a lawsuit. Dobelle ran UH for three years, but was criticized by the regents for disappointing fund-raising performance. He came to the university during a key campaign to raise $250 million by 2007, UH's centennial year. Media reports credit Dobelle for raising $65 million during his time at the helm...

In other state news, Oregon University System Chancellor Richard Jarvis resigned his position in July. George Pernsteiner, a former executive director of Finance and Administration at UC Santa Barbara, is chief operations acting chancellor... John Sperling, 83, the billionaire who founded Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, resigned as chairman of the board to quell investors' worries about the future of the company should anything happen to him, he told the press. Board chair for the $1.3 billion company is now Todd Nelson, Apollo's president and CEO... Kenneth Hillier pleaded no contest to charges that he stole $850,000 from the University of Florida Foundation. The former CFO, who worked for the foundation for 16 years, took the money by writing himself a series of five checks. He faces jail time and a $50,000 fine.

Kathleen Waldron has been named president of Baruch College, a school in the City University of New York system. She is a former president of Citibank International... Sabine O'Hara will be the next president of Roanoke College (VA). She has served as academic vice president and dean at Concordia College (MN)... Marie Gnage became president of West Virginia University of Parkersburg this summer... Robert Barchi took the president's post at Thomas Jefferson University (PA), after having served as provost of the University of Pennsylvania.

The July "People Watch" column contained incorrect information about Molly Robb Shimko. She is now associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, Seton Hill University (PA). UB regrets the error.

--Jean Marie Angelo