BALTIMORE, MD – Coppin State University’s first female president Maria Thompson announced Thursday that she will step down from the Historically Black University at the end of June.

Dr. Maria Thompson

Thompson wrote in a letter to the University’s community that she would be returning to her native city of Nashville following her recent marriage and battled a serious health challenge.

“As you are aware, over the past year, I successfully battled a serious health challenge that required taking some additional recovery time at the start of this academic year. My doctors have been delighted with my progress over these many months and have recently given me a clean bill of health. During the Christmas holidays, my joy was multiplied with the decision to marry my long-time companion – Dr. Joseph Perry. We have determined that the time is right to begin a new chapter as we make a new life together in my native city of Nashville (where my mother also continues to reside), sometime after the conclusion of the current academic year.”

Thompson, 57, was appointed as president of Coppin in 2015, as the university struggled through several difficulties. Her appointment came two years after an oversight committee investigating conditions at Coppin State for the Maryland Board of Regents found evidence of serious mismanagement, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“Without question, we have much yet to accomplish and I want to assure all that I will be working diligently for the remainder of my tenure to advance our strategic priorities to recruit an increasing number of new students for the next academic year – freshman, transfer, and graduate students – while also working to retain more of our current students who require a robust advisory capability given what, for many, is a non-traditional approach to higher education. I also look forward to continuing to work with our valued external partners – our city and state government officials, our colleague universities and community colleges, and our business leaders who are vital to our educational mission and extra-curricular student experiences,” Thompson wrote.

Thompson came to Coppin after serving four years at the State University of New York at Oneonta, where she was provost and vice president for academic affairs. Before that, she worked 13 years at Tennessee State University, a historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee assisting to direct research and sponsored programs.

Click here to read Thompson’s letter to the University community in its entity.

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