Governor asks Burnett to remain

Ehrlich nominates him for higher education post

May 22, 2004|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Calvin W. Burnett, the interim state higher education secretary, was appointed to the job yesterday by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Burnett, 72, the former president of Coppin State University, had been leading the Maryland Higher Education Commission on a temporary basis since January. The commission coordinates policy and administers financial aid to all of the state's colleges and universities.

A spokesman said Ehrlich had been conducting a nationwide search to fill the position but concluded that Burnett was the right man for the job. Since taking over the commission, Burnett has created a group that includes Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele to make long-term plans for the state's higher education system.

Burnett has "demonstrated tremendous leadership since taking over at the Higher Education Commission," Ehrlich said in a statement. The nomination is subject to state Senate confirmation.

Burnett replaced John A. Sabatini Jr., an assistant secretary who had been filling in as the interim head since the resignation last year of Karen R. Johnson, the secretary under former Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

In a telephone interview, Burnett said he had had no intention of filling the job on a permanent basis because "my wife thought I'd had enough pressure." But he said he has concluded that in the job, "You have time to work through things. It's a joy."

Ehrlich also named Sherman L. Ragland II and Alicia Coro Hoffman to fill vacancies on the commission. Hoffman, a native of Cuba, is the first Hispanic commissioner.

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