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May 14, 2022

To replace Cummings, USM turns to Penn State for next president

Jacqueline Edmondson in front of a book case Provided photo Jacqueline Edmondson will start her new role as president of University of Southern Maine on July 1, succeeding Glenn Cummings.

The University of Maine System has tapped Jacqueline Edmondson of Penn State University to succeed Glenn Cummings as president of the Portland-based institution starting July 1.

Edmondson was a tenured professor in Penn State's College of Education and most recently led the school’s Greater Allegheny campus, where she added eight degree programs to meet local workforce needs. She was formally introduced to the USM community Monday afternoon by University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy.

The appointment  received the unanimous green light from the UMaine System board of trustees after a national search that brought four final candidates to USM’s campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn this spring to meet with faculty, students, staff and community representatives.

“I am thrilled to be joining the University of Southern Maine as its 18th president,” Edmondson said. “USM is a wonderful institution that is well positioned for an even greater future. I want to acknowledge and thank President Cummings for his success, and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, students and communities where our campuses are located to build on USM’s strengths, confront challenges and realize new opportunities that will expand its impact and reach in the University of Maine System, the great state of Maine and beyond.”

Edmondson has signed a three-year contract with USM and will earn $290,000 annually, according to Monday's announcement. 

Cummings announced in January he plans to join the Glickman Family Office in Portland as president and CEO, overseeing two foundations.

University of Southern Maine campus seen from above
File photo
The University of Southern Maine, whose Portland campus is shown here, is part of the University of Maine System.

Her research has focused on education policy, rural education, teacher education and popular culture, and in addition to articles in academic journals she has written eight books on a wide range of topics from education policy to Olympian Jesse Owens.

Edmondson earned her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees at Penn State, where she was a first-generation college student who started as a music major before transitioning to elementary education.

“Jackie is a brilliant, dynamic leader who deeply appreciates the proven power of public higher education. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated that she has both the vision and the ability to work well with others to achieve great things for students and institutions,” Malloy said. 

“She was valued, highly respected and, frankly, beloved, at one of our nation’s largest universities,” he added. “I am confident that as our search committee quickly understood, USM and the broader community will soon know that she has the unique qualifications and characteristics to build on the progress realized under President Cummings to take USM as an essential educational, economic and cultural asset to even greater heights in its service to our students, System and the state."

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