Dr. Mickey Burnim

BALTIMORE, MD – University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Robert Caret named Mickey L. Burnim interim president of Coppin State University. Dr. Burnim will begin his service as interim president on July 1.

Current Coppin State University President Maria Thompson in January announced that she will step down June 30 and return on her native Tennessee.

Dr. Burnim served as president of Bowie State University between 2006 and 2017. Dr. Burnim also served as interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore during the summer of 2018 before the start of President Heidi Anderson’s tenure on September 1.

“We are grateful to Mickey Burnim for his ongoing service to the University System of Maryland. Dr Burnim very capably guided the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on an interim basis last summer, and his considerable experience and perspective position him quite will to lead Coppin during the course of a search for President Thompson’s successor,” Cabet said.

During Dr. Burnim’s 11 years as president, Bowie State experienced significant increases in regional and national recognition, added majors in cybersecurity and information technology, opened three new buildings, grew enrollment and graduates, and undertook a successful fundraising campaign.

Dr. Burnim previously served as chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, an Historically Black University in North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of North Texas and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Typically, the search process for a new president at most USM campuses can take approximately eight to twelve months to complete. A search committee has been appointed and will, with assistance from executive search firm Academic Search, conduct a thorough search of highly qualified candidates. The search committee’s work will conclude with its recommendation of finalists for consideration by the chancellor and the Board of Regents. The board will make the final selection.

BALTIMORE, MD – With a 580-acre headquarters campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and more than 3,000 employees in six locations across the U.S., the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) carries out a mission that helps make possible much of the world’s advancement in science and technology. Last fall, Morgan State University (MSU) began a major collaboration with the institute through a $30-million, five-year program led by The John Hopkins University. The Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) offers undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from Morgan, Hopkins and Binghamton University, State University of New York opportunities to work at NSIT. Morgan can receive up to $1 million per year from PREP in personnel funds for Morgan students and/or faculty to work to NIST laboratories. Michael Spencer, professor of electrical engineering (ECE).

Founded in 1901 as the National Bureau of Standards, an agency with the mandate to provide standard weights and measures for the nation, NIST took its current name in 1988 and now has a broader mission: “to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.”

Dr. Michael Spencer, Ph.D., professor of electrical engineering (ECE)

“Morgan is geographically fortunate to be situated near several high-quality national laboratories. NIST is one of them, and they have outstanding world-class resources,” says Michael Spencer, Ph.D., professor in Morgan’s Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering and the administrator of Morgan’s PREP grant. “So this becomes an opportunity for students and faculty to develop joint relationships with laboratories of interest at NIST. It’s even more fortuitous that our current Vice President for Research and Development (Willie May, Ph.D.) is a former director of NIST and has a lot of ties there, so he can suggest relationships that can be developed.”

To strengthen the connection between MSU and NIST and to facilitate the University’s participation in the research, Morgan has allocated funds to provide bus transportation to NIST headquarters from the Hopkins campus.

“The program is open to any students or faculty who meet the requirements of the NIST laboratories,” Dr. Spencer says. “NIST’s research is predominately in physical science, computational science and engineering, but they also do work in other areas.

“International, as well as domestic students and faculty, are eligible for PREP,” he adds. “This is one of the few places where an international student can have an internship without having to pass security clearances.”

Dr. Spencer is hopeful that Morgan’s partnership with NIST will flourish to its fullest, noting that one of NIST’s five Nobel laureates will give a lecture at Morgan on April 30.

“If strong collaborations can be established between the laboratories and Morgan through PREP,” he says, “a large number of our students may benefit.

About Morgan State University

Morgan State University serves the community, region, state, nation, and world as an intellectual and creative resource by supporting, empowering and preparing high-quality, diverse graduates to lead the world. The University offers innovative, inclusive, and distinctive educational experiences to a broad cross section of the population in a comprehensive range of disciplines at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degree levels. Through collaborative pursuits, scholarly research, creative endeavors, and dedicated public service, the University gives significant priority to addressing societal problems, particularly those prevalent in urban communities. For more information, visit www.morgan.edu.

About NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 and is now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major challenge to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time—a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals. For more information, visit www.nist.gov.


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.