Morgan State University's board of regents named as chairman yesterday a man with a decades-long career of public service, replacing a Baltimore lawyer accused of sexually harassing the university's most senior attorney.
Following the recommendation of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, regents unanimously selected retired Judge Harry A. Cole, 74, a former state senator, to become chairman of the 13-member board. "I hope that I can contribute to making Morgan State University one of the most outstanding universities in the state and the nation," Mr. Cole said.
"I'm very pleased that Harry Cole's been selected as chair there," Mr. Glendening said last night. "We indicated that would be a strong preference and we are pleased that was followed."
Mr. Glendening also said he intended for Morgan State to become the flagship of Maryland's four historically black public campuses. He said the campus could count on modest but consistent increases in his budget proposals to move the school in that direction, even as noneducational parts of the state budget are likely to be cut. Mr. Glendening also said Morgan State alumni needed to provide greater support.
"The board and the administration must continue to clearly identify [the university's] areas of specialization," said Mr. Glendening, who was a longtime professor at University of Maryland College Park.
Under current President Earl S. Richardson, the school first stabilized and then added significantly to its student enrollments: the student body now stands at roughly 6,100, just under record levels, and up from 3,900 about a decade ago. The university also has been recognized for improving its academic offerings, with new programs in engineering, architecture and transportation studies.
"I think black Marylanders will be able to look at Morgan with even more pride than they do now, and say, this is a shining star," Mr. Glendening said.
The top spot on the regents board has rotated rapidly in the past year. Just last week, Mr. Cole was appointed to the board by Mr. Glendening to fill the spot of Joseph C. Reid, who himself had been a regent only since January. Last month, Mr. Reid was accused of sexual harassment and resigned after being summoned to a meeting with Mr. Glendening's chief of staff.
The publicly supported state university is not part of the University of Maryland System. Instead, the campus in Northeast Baltimore has a separate board.
While he has not commented publicly, Mr. Reid has denied to associates any wrongdoing. Campus officials said they believe Mr. Cole is the first Morgan State graduate to become chairman of the board of regents.
He graduated from what was then Morgan State College in 1943, earned his law degree from the University of Maryland law school in 1949 and an honorary doctorate of laws from Morgan State University in 1975. He is retired from the Court of Appeals.