John S. Toll, president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook for the last 13 years, and yesterday he has accepted an offer to become the president of the University of Maryland.
Toll's decision, announced at a news conference capped a 10-month search and ended more than two weeks of deliberation by Toll since the presidency was offered him March 20.
"I sincerely believe that, with a determined effort from everyone concerned, the University of Maryland can in about a decade become one of the best state university system in the nation," Toll said. "Not everyone appreciates what a fine institution the University of Maryland now is," he [LINE ILLEGIBLE]
Toll, 54, a former chairman of the physics department st Maryland, will become president of the University July 1, replacing Wilson H. Elkins, who is retiring.
Since it become know that he was under consideration for the Maryland job, Toll has been under great pressure to remain at Stony Brook and he characterized his decision to leave as "among the most difficult I never ever faced."
Both New York Gov. Hugh Carey and the 21-member Lond Island delegation to the New York Legislstion wrote Toll urging him to remain at Stony Brook, on the north shore of Long Island about 50 miles east of New York City.
The Lond Island newspaper Newsday called him in an editorial "a man [LINE ILLEGIBLE] only into a national name but a resoundingly useful member of the community . . . Toll's departure at this moment would be a serious loss to the island."
When he came to Stony Brook from Maryland in 1965, the institution was only three years old and its enrollment was 1,800 students. Its enrollment is currently 17,000 and Toll is generally credited with being the architect of its growth and relatively high academic standing.
Acknowledging that the job of building Stony Brook "is far from complete," Toll nevertheless said he was "drawn by the opportunity for further excellence and service at the University of Maryland."
"In accepting the presidency of the University of Maryland. I am comming home," said Toll, who grew up in Chevy Chase and attended grade school there.
B. Herbert Brown, Chairman of the university's board regents, told the news conference that the regents "are fully confident that the University of Maryland system will continue to gain distinction under Dr. Toll's direction." Elkins said "he is the best person in the country for the presidency of the University of Maryland in 1978 and the forseeable future."
The March 20 offer to Toll came after four or five persons nominated by a searcy committee as candidates to assume the presidency of the university asked that their names be withdrawn from consideration. Of the five search committee nominees, only Toll remained an active candidate although members of the board of regents said other persons were considered and that in any event, Toll was a leading contender from the beginning.
A graduate of Yale with a PhD in physics from Princeton, Toll first came to the University of Maryland at the age of 29 in 1953 to become chairman of the department of physics.
In his 12 years there, he is generally credited with shaping the department into one of the top academic departments on the College Park campus and one of the most prominent in the nation.
In replacing Elkins, who has been president at Maryland for 24 years, Toll assumes the presidency of a 70,000-student university spread out over five campuses, plus an overseas operation of 25,000 students at 350 locations.
In discussing efforts to upgrade Maryland's academic standing Toll said there have substantial improvements in recent years, "but there still some distance to go before it ranks with the best public institutions of the nation."
Most people, he said, would rate Maryland "near the top but not at the top."