A pediatric gastroenterologist who is the veteran president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore was named Thursday to become the chancellor of the state’s public university system.

Jay A. Perman will be the fifth chancellor of the University System of Maryland, which encompasses the state flagship campus in College Park and 11 other public institutions serving 176,000 students. Perman will succeed Chancellor Robert L. Caret when the incumbent steps down in coming months. Perman’s start date has not been determined, a system spokesman said.

Perman, 73, has led UMB since 2010. The university has about 6,700 students, most of them in graduate and professional programs, including medicine and law.

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The chair of the system’s Board of Regents, Linda R. Gooden, said Perman was the right fit.

“In our search for a new USM chancellor we were looking for a nationally recognized leader — ideally someone who had run a large and complex institution, an innovator committed to economic growth and development — but above all a person with a passion for education and committed to shared governance, transparency and diversity,” Gooden said in a statement. “Fortunately for us that we found all of those things right in our own backyard. Jay Perman embodies these attributes.”

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The selection of Perman was first reported Thursday evening by the Baltimore Sun.

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The regents and system officials faced turmoil a year ago in a leadership showdown after football player Jordan McNair died following a spring 2018 workout with his team at the University of Maryland. After months of study and debate, the board last fall chose to endorse keeping the U-Md. football coach, DJ Durkin, while moving to set a retirement date for U-Md. President Wallace D. Loh.

An uproar ensued. Loh then fired the coach, and the board backed down. Ultimately, the board leadership changed, and Loh pushed his retirement back until the end of this school year. Caret subsequently announced he would leave at the end of this school year, too.

Political tensions have eased since the board apologized for its handling of the matter.

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Perman is seen as a respected higher education leader with clout among his peers and lawmakers in Annapolis.

“He leads with authenticity,” said Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, who was on the search committee. “He is someone we all can trust. He’s an honest man who cares deeply about education and helping students of all types.”

System officials say Perman has been active in economic development issues in Baltimore, spearheading efforts to improve a biomedical research park near the campus.

“I am deeply humbled to be called to this responsibility,” Perman said in a statement. “It will be a privilege to work as chancellor with our outstanding USM institutions to ensure that Marylanders — today and tomorrow — have the opportunities I was so fortunate to be given in gaining a higher education.”

Perman chaired pediatrics at UMB’s school of medicine before serving as a dean at the University of Kentucky’s college of medicine. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern University.

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