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Robert Laurent Caret
October 7, 1947
|Occupation||Chancellor, University System of Maryland|
Robert Laurent Caret (born October 7, 1947) is the chancellor of the University System of Maryland. He became chancellor on July 1, 2015. Caret, a native of New England, became chancellor of the University System of Maryland after completing presidencies at San Jose State University, Towson University and the University of Massachusetts.
Born in Biddeford, Maine to a restaurant owner, Caret was the first in his family to attend college. Caret received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire in 1974 and his bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Suffolk University in 1969. His honorary degrees include a Doctor of Humane Letters from Saint Joseph's College of Maine and Westfield State University (2012) San Jose University (2004) and National Hispanic University (1997) and a Doctor of Science degree from Suffolk University (1996).
Caret became president of San Jose State University in February 1995. From 2003 to 2011, Caret was president of Towson University where he had previously served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost during his 29-year tenure. From Towson University, he moved to the University of Massachusetts System, where he served as president of UMass and its five campuses. On December 17, 2014, it was announced that Caret would be the next chancellor of the University System of Maryland, replacing William English Kirwan who announced in May 2014 that he would retire upon the appointment and start date of his successor.
He was inaugurated as the system's fourth chancellor on November 19, 2015. As USM chancellor, Caret continues to focus on areas that have earned him national respect for his success in such areas helping to ensure college affordability, academic excellence, and the efficient use of resources. In addition, he is credited with emphasizing university partnerships to enhance students' experiences and to impact regional progress in economic and workforce development.
Early in his tenure, he led a four-day "Statewide Listening Tour" throughout all regions of Maryland to meet with leaders in business, economic development, and community engagement. The 900-mile bus tour provided the basis for policy initiatives that have helped the university system work with political leaders and engaged citizens to help advance the state.
In late December 2016, the Daily Record of Maryland newspaper named Caret "One of Six Maryland Business Leaders to Watch for 2017." The story noted, "Caret came to the Maryland job with a reputation for working to make college affordable and academically outstanding. When he was hired, he announced he had two primary goals: to make sure students get a quality education and to shape the universities as a 'research-based economic engine' for Maryland."
Caret is continuing the Listening Tour tradition in 2016-2017 with day trips to different regions of the state. In December 2016, his southern Maryland visit included a meeting with Smartronix, a leading information technology and engineering solutions provider, to discuss opportunities to partner more with industry in the region. Caret also has launched a "B-Power Initiative" to improve education and career opportunity for students in the City of Baltimore. B-Power is being developed in partnership with two Baltimore-based USM institutions, Coppin State University and the University of Baltimore.
Before joining USM as chancellor, Caret was president of the University of Massachusetts System (UMass) from 2011 until 2015. Throughout his UMass tenure, he has emphasized efficiency, cost-saving initiatives, and productive working relationships with Massachusetts government and business leaders. His successful pursuit of a 50-50 funding formula for UMass resulted in the state and students contributing equally to the university's general education program and a 22 percent increase in the base budget for two years. He also secured additional state funding, allowing UMass to freeze tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students for two consecutive years.
As president of Towson University, he created partnerships with regional business, non-profit and civic organizations; raised student graduation rates; and undertook a capital fundraising and building campaign to support campus infrastructure improvements. He oversaw an increase in the university's online courses and expanded the availability of TU courses at regional higher education centers. He was instrumental in establishing Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, which offers transfer students the flexibility to pursue a four-year degree after completing an associate degree at a community college. During more than 25 years collectively at Towson University, Caret served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost.
Between 1995 and 2003, he left Towson to assume the presidency of San Jose State University. Caret took an active role in campaigning for a joint city/university effort to build the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, California.
Awards and recognition
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During his years in Massachusetts, he served on the Massachusetts Economic Development Planning Council, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Board, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Board, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center Board, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Board, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate Board, the New England Council Board, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board, and as a member of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.
With his return to Maryland, Caret serves on a number of boards. His service on boards in the state of Maryland includes the Greater Baltimore Committee, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, University of Maryland Medical System, College Savings Plans of Maryland, World Trade Center Institute, Maryland Council on Economic Education, BioHealth Innovation, Inc., and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation. Additionally, he serves on The Center Club Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.
In 2003, Caret was named as one of Silicon Valley's "100 power brokers" by San Jose Magazine. He served on the Board of Directors of ACE, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and has been a member of the Business Higher Education Forum. He is an at-large member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities. He is the chair-elect of the Board of Directors 2017 Executive Committee for the American Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities.
Caret has made numerous presentations and published professionally in the fields of chemistry, chemical education and higher education. He has authored chapters in two monographs on the mission and role of institutions, and has co-authored and published several textbooks in the fields of organic chemistry and allied health chemistry. His awards and recognitions include the State of Maryland Governor's Employee Incentive Award, the San José Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Leadership in Excellence Award (1999), the Italian American Heritage Foundation Achievement Award (2001) and the Outstanding College President Award from the All-American Football Foundation (2001). He is also listed in several editions of "Who's Who in America".
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
In 1997 Caret and former San José Mayor Susan Hammer discussed the idea of creating a joint library to benefit the city of San Jose and San Jose State University. The resulting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened in August 2003 and became the first university and city joint library in the United States. Additionally the library is the largest west of the Mississippi, with 8 stories plus a mezzanine and serves over 1 million people every year.
- Bartindale, Becky (December 9, 2002). "San Jose State president credited with putting university on map". Archived from the original on December 20, 2002.
- "Caret to Return to Maryland as USM Chancellor". Retrieved December 17, 2014.