He took official control of the University of Maryland system with a pledge to incite a revolution, but Donald N. Langenberg said he plans to operate as chancellor with an agenda of "elegant simplicity."
Langenberg's inauguration yesterday at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore drew about 2,000 state and national academic officials. They heard the new chancellor issue a call to UM's 11 campuses for sweeping changes to set new standards in higher education.
The ceremony, a luncheon and a catered dinner at Langenberg's Baltimore County home cost $38,180 and was financed by private donations.
"Like it or not, we are about to be caught up in a whirlwind of revolutionary change in colleges and universities across the nation, a movement that will reinvent the American university as we now know it," Langenberg said. "I am here to incite a revolution. I stand before you to inform you in no uncertain terms that the UM System will lead this revolution. We will take a new path."
Although he was officially installed yesterday, the 59-year-old Langenberg has already been running the system for a year. He said state budget restrictions have hindered efforts to lead the system to national eminence -- a mandate the General Assembly gave UM when it overhauled Maryland's higher education system in 1988.
He said the vision at the core of his inauguration address was developed, in part, as a response to the current state fiscal crisis.
Langenberg said the academic revolution is being driven by a slumping economy and students who need better access to higher education and a broader scope of courses. He said UM also needs to attract more minority students and merge some programs to avoid duplication between campuses.
The chancellor's 30-minute address drew a standing ovation from academic officials, including presidents of other state public and private colleges and universities; state Higher Education Secretary Shaila Aery; Comptroller Louis Goldstein; D. Allan Bromley, assistant to President Bush for science and technology; and Robert H. Atwell, president of the American Council of Education.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer was listed on the program as a speaker, but he was in Annapolis where the legislature had called a special session to balance the state's 1991 budget.
Other top education officials warned Langenberg that his job would not be easy.
"No institution is being called upon for a larger role than the UM System," said Quentin R. Lawson, vice chairman of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. "This is a time of great change, a time of unmeasured challenges to use the educational system."
UM Board of Regents Chairman George V. McGowan challenged Langenberg to "think like an educator and act like a leader" and strive for international recognition "through local services."
McGowan placed a bronze medallion around Langenberg's neck, where it gleamed against the background of a crimson and black inaugural robe that was designed by students and faculty in the Department of Textiles and Consumer Economics.
After the speech, many UM officials said they were impressed with Langenberg's ideas.
"I love direction," said UM at Baltimore President Errol L. Reese. "I'm pleased to have someone like this -- he provides inspiration."
Towson State University President Hoke L. Smith said Langenberg's vision is a long-term one that could be affected by state deficts that are expected to total $373 million in 1992 and 1993.
"The detailed implementation of it is extremely complex," Smith said. "The advantage of a vision is even more important in hard times than in good times. It focuses on how you use the remaining resources."
Smith said that when he learned of the latest deficits, which were announced to the public yesterday, he issued a memo reinstating a TSU hiring and equipment-purchase freeze.