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System Chancellor Westphal Names Robert Kennedy as Interim President

BANGOR – University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal today accepted the resignation, effective August 15, 2004, of University of Maine President Peter S. Hoff.

Hoff, who has served seven years as UMaine’s president, will assume a five-year position as University of Maine System Professor, a non-tenured position. In that role, he will work as a scholar and researcher on higher education and related policy issues. In accordance with his initial contract, Hoff will receive an annual salary of $118,895, which equals 75 percent of his current presidential salary. Hoff becomes eligible for a one-year paid academic sabbatical at the conclusion of his UMaine presidency.

Westphal today named Robert A. Kennedy, UMaine’s executive vice president and provost, to serve a one-year appointment as UMaine’s interim president once Hoff’s resignation takes effect. Compensation and related details of Kennedy’s appointment are being finalized.

"During this transition period, Provost Kennedy will provide the UMaine community with a familiar and experienced leader, doing so in as seamless a manner as one could hope,” Westphal said.

A search committee to identify Hoff’s successor will be formed in September, when faculty and students return to Orono for the start of the new academic year. Westphal and the University System Board of Trustees intend to have a new president in office in time for the beginning of the fall 2005 semester. Kennedy does not intend to be a candidate for the presidency.

“The trustees and I are extremely grateful for the leadership and dedication President Hoff has provided during his seven years as president,” Westphal stated. “President Hoff leaves the presidency with a much-larger student enrollment, a more creative and innovative faculty, and a broader and more resourceful research enterprise.

“As a result of President Hoff’s leadership, the University of Maine is positioned to attain new levels of quality, excellence, and prominence as a nationally and internationally renowned teaching and research institution. This vision is reflected in the University System’s draft strategic plan that the trustees and I released in March, and will be reiterated in the revised draft that will be issued in September.

"As Maine’s land-grant, flagship university, UMaine is central to the University System’s overarching mission -- to serve the state through high quality education, job creation, business attraction, partnerships, public service outreach, and an enhanced quality of life for all Maine residents. UMaine’s future is bright, and the trustees and I are committed to helping the institution realize its full potential."

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state's largest educational institution, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven universities -- some with multiple campuses -- located across the State, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. For more information, log onto

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hoff and Kennedy bios follow.


Peter S. Hoff became the 17th president of the University of Maine on August 1, 1997 after serving as chief academic officer at Indiana University Southeast, the University System of Georgia, and the California State University. Under his leadership, UMaine grew enrollment to more than 11,200 students and achieved the top Carnegie classification -- Doctoral Research-Extensive.

Dr. Hoff graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin and earned an M.A. in English and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in English and Humanities at Stanford University. He began his career in higher education in his home state of Wisconsin, helping to establish a new university (UW-Parkside, in Kenosha). As a professor in Wisconsin for 17 years, he founded and chaired the Honors Program, was a department chair, and established an interdisciplinary humanities program. On earning tenure and promotion, he turned his attention to faculty development at the statewide level and chaired the faculty senate and faculty executive committee, responsibilities that led to full-time administration.

Hoff has written and spoken extensively on British satiric fiction, the modern impressionist novel, teaching excellence, and strategic planning. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies, and has won awards for teaching excellence.

As Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Maine, Robert A. Kennedy provides leadership and vision for undergraduate and graduate education, and fosters integration between research and academic programs.

Dr. Kennedy came to UMaine in July 2000 as Vice President for Academic Affairs and was promoted to Executive Vice President and Provost in July 2001. He previously served as Vice President for Research and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies at Texas A&M University, and prior to that as Vice President for Research at the Maryland Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Kennedy has served as a faculty member at Texas A&M, the University of Maryland, The Ohio State University, Washington State University, and the University of Iowa.

A Minnesota native, Dr. Kennedy earned his undergraduate degree in plant science from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of California, Berkeley.