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September 1, 2017

Cutler out, Campbell in as CEO of Maine Center initiative

Photo / Tim Greenway George N. Campbell Jr., president and CEO of the University of Southern Maine Foundation, has been named interim CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies. He replaces Eliot Cutler, who has resigned effective Thursday.
Photo / Tim Greenway Eliot Cutler, shown at the University of Maine Law School's library, served two-and-a-half years as CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies.

George Campbell has been named interim CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, replacing Eliot Cutler who resigned effective Thursday.

Cutler served two-and-a-half years as CEO of the University of Maine System’s ambitious plan to put several graduate programs under one roof in Portland.

Campbell, who has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, currently serves as president and CEO of the University of Southern Maine Foundation. He will retain that role as he assumes his duties as the Maine Center’s interim CEO.

In an Aug. 31 letter announcing his resignation, Cutler said that he had completed what he set out to do when he took on the assignment of bringing the graduate law, business and public service programs together in ways that would “break down the walls and silos in graduate programs that already are vanishing from the real world of work.”

“I am grateful to Chancellor [James] Page and the University System’s board of trustees for their visionary support of this initiative and to the Harold Alfond Foundation for its extraordinary commitment to improving public higher education in Maine and providing more and better opportunities for Maine people,” Cutler wrote. “Rebuilding the Maine economy, restoring opportunity for Maine people and moving Maine out of the regional economic cellar will be a long process spanning a generation or two. It will require commitment and creativity, patience and persistence and, most important, the willingness of public and private stakeholders to work together.”

Permanent CEO to be named next year

In a letter sent out today to Maine Center stakeholders, Page thanked Cutler for “a job well done,” crediting him with shepherding what he characterized as a “priority initiative” of ongoing multifaceted One University efforts through the initial stage of creating the business plan and securing essential funding to get it off the ground.

“We are now embarking on the second stage, which includes investing in academic programs to build capacity, increasing our market reach and creating innovative structures that respond more nimbly to student and employer needs,” Page wrote.

Along with naming Campbell as interim CEO, Page indicated that the UMaine System plans to hire a permanent full-time CEO in 2018.

“I am honored to take the baton from Eliot Cutler and have this opportunity to serve and meet the expectation of success that has been established by Chancellor Page, the board of trustees, and our partners at the Harold Alfond Foundation for Maine Center Ventures,” Campbell said in a written statement provided to Mainebiz. “We have a strong plan and committed partners across the campuses and in communities throughout Maine. With their help we will hit the ground running with the launch of initial executive education programs and a business incubator and accelerator in early 2018.”

What's next for Maine Center?

A brief memo, provided to Mainebiz by Dan Demeritt, executive director of public affairs for the UMaine System, spells out Campbell’s assignment as he assumes his new role leading the Maine Center:

“Working closely with the Office of the Chancellor and university colleagues, the interim CEO is charged with launching Maine Center Ventures.

“Immediate outcomes will include:

— Lead a broadly engaged Maine Center Ventures advisory team

— External and campus stakeholder engagement

— Develop a branding and marketing campaign for MCV

— Aid in the search for full-time Maine Center Venture CEO

— Launch initial executive education programs in early 2018

— Launch business incubator / accelerator program in early 2018.”

Jim Erwin, chairman of the UMS board of trustees, issued the following statement about Campbell’s appointment: "George Campbell's career and his reputation for service, fundraising, and outreach personify the objectives of Maine Center Ventures in the developing Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies. Both as a public servant and in private enterprise, George has successfully built partnerships that have resulted in tremendous new opportunity for our state. Eliot Cutler and his team have provided us with the aspirational plan we asked for. Now the board and Chancellor Page have charged George in this interim period with launching Maine Center Ventures and establishing initial relationships with the legal, professional, and public service communities that will make the Maine Center successful."

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