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February 21, 2017

UNE names new president replacing Danielle Ripich

Courtesy / University of New England
Courtesy / University of New England
James Herbert, executive vice provost and dean of the graduate college at Drexel University in Philadelphia, will assume the presidency of University of New England on July 1, when current President Danielle Ripich steps down.

The University of New England announced today that James Herbert, executive vice provost and dean of the graduate college at Drexel University in Philadelphia, will be the next president of the university.

He will assume office on July 1, immediately after the close of the 11-year tenure of President Danielle Ripich, who was honored last March as Mainebiz's 2016 Nonprofit Business Leader of the Year for her role in UNE's growth in enrollment and programs since becoming president in September 2006.

Gloria Pinza, leader of UNE's search committee, said the process of selecting Ripich's replacement was deliberative and included soliciting input from UNE's faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, donors and students to get their vision for UNE what they thought would be the most essential traits of the university's next president.

"At the end of the day, one candidate stood out clearly from the others," she said in a release announcing Herbert's appointment.

Ripich described Herbert as "warm, engaging, intelligent and forward-looking" and proclaimed him a perfect fit for the university.

"Having steered the university to the deep waters with the help of so many wonderful people here, I am delighted to hand the wheel to a man uniquely equipped to guide UNE into its bright, blue future," she said in her written introduction that was shared with Mainebiz. "I know he will continue to empower our talented faculty and staff to rethink the traditional ways of doing in their fields. I know he will look into the future and stay one step ahead of the trends. I know he will ensure UNE continues to play a vital role in the Maine economy."

Impressed by UNE's 'innovative spirit'

Herbert's educational background is in psychology. He holds a doctorate and master's degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a bachelor's degree in psychology from University of Texas at Austin.

Herbert noted that he was "both humbled and exhilarated" by being selected as the next university president.

"I believe UNE is well positioned to continue offering exceptional value to its students," he said in written remarks shared with Mainebiz. "As uncertainties swirl regarding the future of health care and industries are turned on their ear by new technologies, UNE's innovative spirit will be more valuable than ever."

Herbert said UNE's presidential search was the only presidential search to which he applied — a decision, he said, that "was not made lightly."

He credited Ripich, her leadership team and the entire UNE community for being at the front lines of rapid changes in higher education.

"When the number of Maine high school graduates has been declining each year, UNE has grown its enrollment, its academic programs, its athletic programs, its cash reserves and its reputation for the return on investment it offers students," he said.

Looking forward, Herbert said UNE's challenge will be to continue to design its programs to keep pace with the world outside of academia.

"As our economy evolves at an unprecedented rate, colleges and universities are subject to increasing competition for students and increasing price sensitivity," he said. "If we work together, and remain focused on the future, we are well-positioned to confront the challenges ahead."

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