Loeschke will start Jan. 1 at Towson, replacing longtime president Robert Caret, who departed this year to lead the University of Massachusetts system.

Loeschke spent more than three decades at Towson, earning a bachelor’s in theatre and English and a master’s in education. After earning a doctorate in philosophy at the Union Institute in Cincinnati, she returned to Towson and climbed the faculty ranks. She served as dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication from 1997 to 2002.

She left Towson that year to be provost of Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where she earned notice by reorganizing the academic program into distinct schools and establishing learning assessments for those programs.

Loeschke took the presidency of Mansfield in 2006. There, she oversaw development of a strategic plan and reorganized administration to “achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness,” according to a release from the University System of Maryland. Mansfield is a former teacher’s college and part of Pennsylvania’s state university system.

“Even in the face of unprecedented budget cuts in Pennsylvania, Dr. Loeschke was still able to move Mansfield University forward, exhibiting the courage to undertake significant organizational and administrative restructuring to maintain momentum,” said William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the university system.

According to the Towson release, Loeschke is also a professional actress.

“It is a privilege and a joy for me to serve the institution that has given so much to me,” she said in the statement. “My Towson education provided the groundwork for my professional career and my personal life. I honor the university’s long history and deeply respect its current reputation for excellence.”

Towson, part of the 12-school state university system and located in a Baltimore suburb, offers more than 100 academic programs and serves more than 21,000 students. Under Caret, the university earned plaudits for an exemplary record in narrowing disparities in graduation rates among students of different racial and ethnic groups. Towson is a popular choice for students from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.