Dr. Harvey Kesselman has agreed to a request by the Board of Trustees that he remain as acting president of Stockton University, providing continuity and valuable leadership while the university resolves challenges which have thwarted plans to develop a campus at the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
“Stockton has been a part of me since its founding, and I cannot walk away now,” said Acting President Kesselman. “With President Saatkamp on medical leave, the trustees felt they needed someone with thorough knowledge of the University, the region and the state to ensure continuity as we enter the next academic year and maintain our tradition of excellence in education.”
Board Chair Madeline Deininger had written to the University of Southern Maine on behalf of the trustees, asking that Kesselman be allowed to withdraw from his contract to become president of USM beginning in July. His Stockton contract as Acting President is being extended after the University of Southern Maine agreed to release Kesselman from his contract.
“Dr. Kesselman has the confidence not just of the Board and the Stockton community, but business and government leaders throughout the region and state,” Deininger said. “Harvey is known and respected by all, and is immensely qualified to keep Stockton moving forward on all fronts.”
Dr. James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System, said, “Harvey Kesselman’s long, capable service and dedication to Stockton University were among the qualities that made him such an appealing choice to join our leadership team in Maine. While we sincerely enjoyed getting to know Dr. Kesselman and looked forward to working together, we respect his decision and admire his devotion to Stockton. We wish Dr. Kesselman and the entire Stockton University community all the best.”
Kesselman praised the USM leadership for their support.
“I want to acknowledge Chancellor Page’s extraordinary sensitivity and understanding of my need to remain at Stockton at this time in the institution’s history,” he said. “This decision allows the Chancellor and his staff to come up with the best solution for USM and permits me to concentrate my full attention on the issues facing Stockton.”
Deininger stated that, since Kesselman has agreed to remain acting president for the immediate future, the university is under no time constraint to commence a costly, national search for an Interim President. She added that Stockton’s executive leadership situation will be re-evaluated, with input from the Stockton community, after President Saatkamp’s resignation takes effect.
Kesselman stressed that Stockton will maintain its unequivocal commitment to teaching, learning, research and community service. “I will work with all the stakeholders: Stockton students, faculty and staff, local, county and state officials and other interested parties, to ensure that Stockton continues to provide the highest quality education, as well as economic, civic and cultural resources to the region,” Acting President Kesselman said.
“Stockton will come out of its current challenges as a stronger institution, proud of its traditions and positioned for an exceptionally bright future,” he said.