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Bowie State University President Mickey Burnim to Retire June 2017

September 14, 2016

Announcement Comes as Bowie State Welcomes Largest-Ever Freshman Class

MEDIA CONTACT: Damita Chambers, dchambers@bowiestate.edu, 301-832-2628 mobile

(BOWIE, Md.) – Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim today announced plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2017, capping a 40-year career in higher education and nearly 11 years at the helm of Bowie State.

Mickey L. Burnim Headshot

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“It has been a tremendous journey of service through my career of teaching and leading, but the time has come for me to transition to spending more time enjoying my family and serving the higher education and broader communities in more focused and limited ways,” Burnim said in an announcement at the university’s Fall Matriculation Convocation and a letter to the campus community. Today Bowie State also formally inducted its largest-ever freshman class of 950 students after graduating a record 1,180 students in the 2015-2016 academic year, a 27 percent increase since Burnim became president in September 2006.

Burnim committed to maintaining a focus on institutional improvement through the remainder of the year, identifying a focus on three key initiatives:  raising funds to establish the university’s first endowed chair, establishing an office of international programs, and launching the cybersecurity national workforce training pilot with the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “Solidifying the foundations to support faculty innovations, international experiences for students and our position as a leader in meeting the national demand for cybersecurity professionals is critical to assuring that Bowie State continues on the path to greatness in a changing world,” Burnim said.

His tenure at Bowie State has been marked by steady progress toward becoming one of the best comprehensive universities in the nation. The university has experienced significant increases in regional and national recognition, transformation of teaching and research environments across the campus, and expansion of academic programs and opportunities for student research. A positive enrollment trend and a focus on student success have resulted in the significant growth in the annual number of graduates.

Burnim noted in his Fall Convocation address that the university has maintained a sound fiscal position and exceeded the $15 million goal in its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. It has also been recognized in several national publications for being an outstanding higher educational value, the most recent being the Economist ranking as the best higher education value in Maryland.

The university has opened three new buildings, enhanced athletics facilities and looks forward to completing construction of a new state-of-the art science, mathematics, and nursing building in the spring of 2017.

“President Burnim has led Bowie State University with distinction,” said University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert L. Caret. “During his presidency, Bowie State has added majors in the information technology and cybersecurity realms. Dr. Burnim has led the drive to develop new facilities, such as the Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing. He has positioned the campus for growth to better serve the region. I salute President Burnim’s work in leading Bowie State to prestigious national rankings and guiding the university during increasingly complex times in public higher education.”

Over the past 10 years, increases in civic and business partnerships led to new initiatives at Bowie State, like the Bowie Business Innovation Center, a business incubator operated on the campus in collaboration with the City of Bowie. The university’s signature program, the Education Innovation Initiative, EI², was launched in partnership with Lockheed Martin and works to increase the pipeline of minority students entering STEM disciplines and gaining real-world, hands-on experiences.

“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I would like to salute President Burnim for his service, dedication, and his consistently effective leadership of Bowie State University, said Chairman James T. Brady. “The university, and the system overall, are all the better for the decency and wisdom he has brought leading one of the nation’s highly ranked historically black colleges.”


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Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit www.bowiestate.edu.