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.
Shortly after her appointment as president, a good friend said to Dr. Loeschke, “Maravene, no one loves Towson University as much as you do.” That sentiment was at the root of Loeschke’s long career at Towson. Her love of Towson explains her desire to return to the university as its president.
Like Principal Sarah Richmond, who began at MSNS a century-and-a-half before her, Loeschke’s first link to Towson was as a student. Growing up in Parkville, she was determined to attend college and enrolled at nearby Towson State College in 1965. Each day, her father, a country worker, would drop her off in front of Stephens Hall at 8 a.m. and pick her up that evening. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and English in 1969 and immediately began preparing to New York to pursue a career in theater. Before she could leave, however, she was called back to Towson when a vacancy suddenly occurred. That temporary position quickly became permanent and led to a long career as a faculty member, department chair, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and finally as president in January, 2012. Along the way she completed a master’s degree in education at Towson in 1971, and a doctorate from Union Institute in Cincinnati in 1976. The only break in her service to Towson was when she was selected as provost of Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2002, followed later by six years as president of Mansfield University.
Following the presidency of Robert Caret, who also rose through the ranks from assistant professor to university president at Towson, Loeschke was seen as a perfect match for Towson. As Chancellor William Kirwan said at the time, “Clearly Dr. Loeschke brings a philosophical alignment with the USM goals of closing student achievement gaps, increasing the number of young people in Maryland with college degrees, and responding to the state’s work force and economic development needs.”
Because she knew how the institution evolved from the state college she attended as a student, to the large university for which she now held the reins, she was able to express its mission and goals in her inaugural speech: “Towson University is a comprehensive research-intensive university based in the liberal arts with strong professional programs. Research-intensive refers to the importance of research to teaching, intellectual inquiry, the reinforcement of the student as scholar and the importance of scholarship in teaching. TU is not, and will not strive to be a Research One institution. Towson is primarily a teaching institution that deeply values the place of research in that mission.”
From January 1, 2012 to December of 2014, President Loeschke established a student-centered administration intent upon fulfilling the promise of those goals. Her accomplishments included the completion of the new state-of-the-art SECU Arena and the Towson University Northeastern Maryland campus in Harford County. Towson University grew to almost 23,000 students, offering more than 60 undergraduate degree programs, and nearly 50 graduate degrees. Most of all, she focused on students and their commitment to making a difference. She continued to challenge both current students and alumni as to how they will use their lives in entrepreneurship and service to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, illness shortened Dr. Loeschke’s term as president and she had to step down at the end of 2014. Dr. Loeschke passed away on June 25, 2015.