By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced today that she will step down as of Dec. 31.
She plans to continue in another role at BGSU. “I can’t get a new wardrobe,” said Mazey, who always dresses in orange and brown.
In the past she has said that she would stay until the current capital campaign is completed, and told the Board of Trustees that she would do whatever is needed to help reach the $200 million goal.
The announcement came at Friday’s meeting of the BGSU Board of Trustees.
Mazey, 68, has been president for six years. The trustees named Provost Rodney Rogers to be interim president.
Trustee Betty Montgomery said that she had told the trustees before she would retire, and “we said ‘no.’”
Mazey said that last year she floated the idea of retiring a year early. Her contract runs through 2019.
In announcing her decision, Mazey said the death earlier this fall of Steve Krakoff, the vice president for Capital Planning and Campus Operations, got her thinking. Krakoff in his work on the campus master plan “literally built the future of BGSU’s future.”
She reflected what has been accomplished in her time. That included completing the campus’ master plan, which involved building new buildings, and renovating others including the oldest buildings on campus, as well as upgrading many of the classrooms.
The university has increased enrollment and retention, and brought in more academically prepared students.
Mazey also cited BGSU’s receiving the first NCAA award for diversity for the We Are One Team initiative. That’s gratifying because the project was launched and run by students, and students are the heart of BGSU.
She said she decided now was time to have a schedule with more flexibility, though she later scoffed at the idea that she would work less than full time, though “full time” will mean a reduction in hours.
Mazey also helped resolve a long standing labor dispute by signing the first collective bargaining agreement between the BGSU Faculty Association and the university. A second agreement was reached last year in a process marked by cooperation and good feelings.
She said her relationship with union president David Jackson was a model.
Jackson said after the meeting that they would meet monthly. While a contract provides a framework, relationships are still important, he said. “She knew that before I did.”
It was Mazey who “insisted” on those meetings. They were important because “suspicion and doubt in a relationship” is hard maintain when meeting with someone face to face. “Those meetings started at the bottom of our relationship and that made all the difference.”
He described her as “the hardest working person I’ve ever met.”
“Her commitment is obvious and sincere in making BGSU a better place. … I will miss her both professionally and as a friend.”
Trustee James Bailey said that under Mazey “the place has been transformed.”
“We have made more progress in the last six years than previous nine,” Trustee James Bailey said. “You’re going out on a tremendous high with tremendous success.”
Trustee Betty Montgomery said “the spirit of this university has changed.” She praised Mazey’s “creativity and endurance and 24-7” work schedule.
Mazey’s continued role at the university is still being formed, said Megan Newlove, president of the trustees.
Both she and Mazey said it will involve fundraising and working with large donors.
Mazey said she will also work with the university as it searches for a new president. Having served on presidential search committees and gone through the process herself, she said, “I think I can gve them a great deal of guidance and direction.”
Newlove said the search will start in spring, but there’s no date yet when the trustees would like to have another president in place. “We’re still working out the search process to see how that timeline will work.”
She said the university was fortunate to have someone like Rogers to serve as interim with Mazey still on hand to help in the transition.