Calif. administrator named to head UMAB

March 02, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

The University of Maryland at Baltimore ended its months-long search for a new president yesterday, naming Dr. David J. Ramsay, currently the No. 2 administrator at the University of California, San Francisco.

In addition to his lengthy track record in California -- at a university configured much like UMAB -- Dr. Ramsay brings a reputation for integrity and conciliation. The British-born physiologist will take over the downtown campus June 1.

"Dr. Ramsay brings to this post an impeccable record of academic and administrative experience," said George V. McGowan, head of the University of Maryland Board of Regents.

The regents agreed to give Dr. Ramsay, 54, a salary of $215,000 -- making him the highest-paid president in the 11-campus University of Maryland System. In addition, he will receive housing and car allowances totaling $19,500, a UM spokeswoman said.

He told a gathering of university officials that he would expand the university's research work and use UMAB's expertise to help solve Baltimore's social and educational problems.

His appointment, he added, left him "honored and somewhat awed."

Dr. Ramsay's appointment is seen as a new beginning for UMAB, which has been hampered by leadership turmoil, budget cuts and infighting the past several years.

He succeeds Errol L. Reese, who resigned at the end of last year under pressure from the regents. His last months in office were punctuated by an ugly public fight over salary with the dean of the medical school.

In an interview, Dr. Ramsay characterized the campus' troubles as typical of those at a health-sciences research university that has strong-willed academic deans.

"I'm just looking forward," Dr. Ramsay said. "I've had a tremendous amount of support from the deans. I think we will work well together."

UMAB, with 5,200 students and an annual budget of $313 million, comprises schools of law, medicine, pharmacy, social work, nursing and dentistry, as well as a graduate program affiliated with the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Dr. Ramsay has served for 12 years as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UCSF, considered one of the nation's premier public universities in the health sciences. In that position, he has broad oversight of the campus' academic life, including issues of tenure and promotion.

He has also handled a variety of other assignments, including a prolonged defense of the university's use of animals in lab research.

Dr. Ramsay said the time had come for him to look for a new job after the resignation last year of his boss, former UCSF Chancellor Julius Krevans.

"I had told the new chancellor I would see him through the transition period and then see what to do next," Dr. Ramsay said.

Dr. Ramsay has retained his title of professor in the Department of Physiology and, until two years ago, oversaw a lab doing research into the cardiopulmonary system.

Mark Sargent, a law professor at UMAB who led the presidential search committee, praised Dr. Ramsay's integrity, his ability to build consensus on controversial issues and his research background.

Dr. Ramsay was one of three finalists named by the search committee. Another was Dr. Florence P. Haseltine, director of the Center for Population Research at the National Institutes of Health. In January, Dr. Jane E. Henney withdrew to accept a post at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Ramsay was born in England and received his medical degree and doctorate in physiology from the University of Oxford. His wife, Anne, is a hospital nurse who has not decided whether to seek a similar position in Maryland. They have two children.

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