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Ian Newbould, a former college provost and president, said this week he plans to bring stability to St. Mary’s College of Maryland as he takes over as interim president for the next year following the departure of Joseph Urgo.

Newbould will start in August and serve as interim president for at least the next academic year while the college’s board of trustees searches for the next president.

He is walking into what has been described as an admissions crisis at the campus, with fewer than expected students enrolled for the next academic year.

In his three-year tenure as president of the college, Urgo sought to diversify the student body and increase need-based financial aid.

However, in the beginning of May the college acknowledged a dramatic shortfall in the number of new freshmen enrolling for next academic year following a reorganization of the admissions and financial aid offices. The college expected to enroll 470 freshmen, but by May 1 only about 320 were committed to attend. Since then some additional students have enrolled, however the freshman class remains about 100 students shy of the goal.

The college is planning $3.5 million in budget cuts — some permanent and some temporary — to make up for the shortfall in tuition now expected next year.

Urgo announced in early June that he would not ask the college’s board of trustees to renew his contract, which ends June 30. He did not return a phone call placed this week, or calls and emails earlier this month.

In addition to Urgo, Pat Goldsmith, the vice president of admissions and financial aid, and Keisha Reynolds, assistant vice president of external relations, have departed St. Mary’s College in the last month.

Newbould said Monday he was given goals for the next year by the college trustees that include “to bring some stability to the college.” He plans to especially work on the enrollment issue, which he said he hopes to turn around quickly.

He said the college may look to bring on an interim vice president of admissions within the next month and that he would work to hire a permanent person for that position.

He said he helped with an overhaul of the admissions and recruitment office while serving as interim provost at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., during the last year.

“It’s the bread and butter,” he said of the importance of admissions, particularly at small colleges.

Newbould said he would oversee St. Mary’s College’s budget, including how the $3.5 million in budget cuts are carried out. He said the college administration and others on campus already seem to be doing a good job planning for those cuts.

“What I’m doing is discussing the questions,” he said, adding that he does not yet have any answers or wisdom to offer about the admissions crisis.

Newbould visited the campus Monday where he met with some faculty and staff. Chip Jackson, the college’s vice president for business and finance, will function as acting president until Newbould officially takes over Aug. 1.

Newbould has spent more than three decades in higher education, including serving three years as president of Richmond, The American International University in London; seven years at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C.; and 10 years leading Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada.

Gail Harmon, chair of the St. Mary’s College trustees, said Newbould understands the college’s mission as a public liberal arts college.

Newbould was recommended along with a few others by an agency that banks the names of former college presidents and vice presidents interested in working in interim positions, Harmon said.

Members of the board of trustees as well as college administrators interviewed three candidates last week and choose Newbould.

Alan Dillingham, a professor and president of the faculty senate, said that Newbould stood out because of his long career as a college president.

He said Newbould will need to be a quick study to help address the campus’ challenges as he works with administrators, faculty and staff.

Harmon said the interim president has been given a list of expectations.

“Certainly admissions is high on the list,” she said.

Newbould is to review data related to admissions and recruitment, discover what went wrong this year and correct course in time for next year’s admissions. “He is a data-oriented problem solver,” Harmon said.

For Newbould’s one year of service he will be paid $325,000, the same salary as Urgo. Newbould will not have a car or housing allowance, although he will live in a “modest” house owned by the college, Harmon said.

He will receive health insurance provided by the college, but will not join the state’s pension system, she said.

Newbould is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. He received his master’s degree from the University of Guelph in Canada and a doctorate in history from the University of Manchester in England.

His permanent home is in Toronto, with his wife. He has three children and three grandchildren. He began his career studying and teaching history.

jyeatman@somdnews.com