University of Baltimore picks lawyer to lead school

Bogomolny to replace Turner after 32 years

March 02, 2002|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

The University of Baltimore yesterday named Robert L. Bogomolny, a former pharmaceutical company executive and law school dean, to replace H. Mebane Turner as president of the nontraditional urban college.

A native of Cleveland, Bogomolny, 63, served for 14 years as corporate senior vice president and general counsel of G.D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical company, before stepping down last year. Before that, he served 10 years as professor of law and dean at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

This background, say those involved in the search to replace Turner, made Bogomolny an ideal leader for the university, where the most popular programs include its law school and business school.

"What sets him apart is a real record of success in diverse areas, his ability to integrate the major disciplines at the University of Baltimore," said Louise Michaux Gonzales, a member of the state Board of Regents who acted as liaison to the university's presidential search committee.

Bogomolny, who lives in Illinois, said yesterday that he looks forward to taking over the university in midtown Baltimore when Turner retires in July. After leaving Searle last year, he said, he spent some time considering his next move before deciding that he wanted to return to academia.

"I'm very much enamored of the role of urban universities, the role they play in the growth and development of a community, and the University of Baltimore very much fits that model," said Bogomolny. "Its mission is very attractive, and there's a great deal of enthusiasm there."

Bogomolny's selection represents a turning point for the university, which has been under Turner's leadership for 32 years -- the longest tenure of any current state system president. Founded in 1925, and made a public institution in 1975, the university has grown to more than 2,000 undergraduates and more than 2,600 graduate and professional students, and a full-time faculty of 151.

It fills a niche within the state system, primarily serving adult students who are returning to college, including many who are working full time and many graduates of local community colleges who move on to the university to earn their bachelor's degree.

Larry Katz, a professor at the university's law school and chairman of the presidential search committee, said Bogomolny's years as dean of the Cleveland State's law school would serve him well in overseeing UB's law school, which is known for graduating many of the city's rank-and-file lawyers. "He has wonderful experience in a university very similar to ours," Katz said.

Gonzalez said regents were also drawn to Bogomolny's interests in the arts and public service. He is chairman of the board of Chamber Music America, and a board member of the Foundation for Emotionally Disturbed Children in Chicago.

Earlier in his career, Bogomolny taught law at Southern Methodist University, acted as assistant director of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York, a research organization, and worked in private practice in Cleveland. He earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Harvard University.

Succeeding a well-respected veteran like Turner is "more than a little" daunting, Bogomolny said. "This is someone who did some very good things over a very long period of time," he said. "But that's a great legacy. You have a sense of coming to a place where you have a lot to build on."

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