To celebrate the inauguration of Kim Schatzel as Towson University’s 14th leader, we are looking back at the past leaders of the school. These essays are from a book we helped craft, Towson University: The First 150 Years.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Mark L. Perkins earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1972, Master’s in Psychometrics and Research Design from the University of Georgia in 1974, and earned a doctorate in psychometrics and statistics from the same institution in 1976. Prior to coming to Towson University, Perkins was the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1994 to June 2001. He held a variety of faculty and leadership positions at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and California State University-Stanislaus. In July of 2001, Perkins became Towson’s 11th president and soon would become its shortest in tenure, serving only nine months in office. After the financial struggles of the previous two decades to improve funding, Perkins was expected to pursue external funding and to significantly increase the university’s endowment. But the expectations to increase fundraising led to the end of his presidency. Perkins attracted much public criticism when the local press discovered that the university had purchased a large house in a wealthy Baltimore neighborhood in order to entertain potential donors. The purchase of the house, plus the renovations to make the home attractive, totaled about one and a half million dollars at a time when the rise in college costs was making it difficult for students and families to afford. The negative perception in the local press was aggravated by the purchase of $25,000 medallion used at his inauguration. Three weeks after his inauguration, the Board of Regents gave Perkins an ultimatum and he resigned from the presidency on April 5, 2002.