Ungar Announces His Plans

Release date: June 28, 2013

Dear Members of the Goucher Community:

Please see the text below of a letter I sent to Norma Lynn Fox, chair of the Goucher Board of Trustees, this morning. I expect we will make a general public announcement of this decision early next week, but wanted to be sure that you heard the news from me first:

Norma Lynn Fox, Ph.D.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Goucher College

Dear Norma Lynn:

I am writing to tell you that I plan to step down as president of Goucher College, after thirteen years of service, on June 30, 2014.

My time leading Goucher has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career and my life. It has been a great privilege to work with our gifted faculty and staff, as well as the dedicated Board of Trustees, to find new ways to enhance and honor the liberal arts tradition that is at the heart of this institution. Goucher students, as I have learned, are among the very best in the business – innovative, highly motivated individuals, and independent thinkers who will make a major difference in the world when they leave us. All of these elements combine to create a close-knit campus community that lives its principles every day – a wonderful place to study, think, work, and grow.

I am grateful to all those who have contributed to whatever difference I may have made here – the talented women and men who have served on our senior staff, generous and thoughtful alumnae and alumni from across the country and the world, enthusiastic Goucher families, other friends and supporters in the Baltimore-Washington area, and especially my wife Beth. While maintaining her own career as a physician in DC, Beth Ungar has been Goucher’s most ardent volunteer and a constant source of inspirational ideas that have enriched the life of the college.

I also want to acknowledge the key role that you and other board chairs of recent years – Marilyn Warshawsky, John Bond, and Becki Kurdle – have played in moving us forward. You have been exemplary counselors and confidants, without whom I could not possibly have done my complex job.

There is much that has occurred in the past dozen years of which we can all be proud – the enhancement of campus facilities, including the construction of the Athenaeum and WelchHall and the renovation of the Julia Rogers building; the creation of two successive strategic plans; and the establishment of the country’s first undergraduate study-abroad requirement. That every Goucher graduate has at least one overseas educational experience truly makes this college distinctive among its peers and competitors, and gives our students a great comparative advantage. It has also been gratifying to bring many leading public figures to campus, and to watch our students engage them so effectively and articulately.

Many political, financial, and curricular challenges face all of American higher education, but particularly liberal arts colleges, in the years ahead. I believe Goucher is well-positioned to deal with these issues, but I also feel it is time for the college to seek a new leader who can bring his or her own experience and perspective to bear and move this remarkable institution forward.

After a brief vacation that begins this evening, I shall return to campus in early July to start my thirteenth year as president with gusto and enthusiasm. We have a lot of work to do to keep the college strong in today’s turbulent educational environment, and the next year will be a busy and productive one. When I do leave office in twelve months, I will turn to several writing and other projects that are important to me. Then, after a year’s sabbatical, I plan to come back to Goucher in the Fall of 2015 and teach as a member of the History and Communications and Media Studies departments. It will be a joy at that point to have even more time to devote to our students.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be the tenth president of Goucher, and pleased to have traveled around this country and many other parts of the world as its representative. I will, of course, always be a Gopher at heart, and will do anything I can to promote the college’s prospects and reputation for the rest of my days.

Sanford J. Ungar