The University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Wednesday voted to elevate Linda R. Gooden, a nine-year-member of the panel — to chairwoman. She started in her leadership role by saying that the board’s role in personnel recommendations in the wake of a football player’s death was wrong.
“In its quest to keep an open mind about the facts presented in the two recent reports on the tragic death of Jordan McNair and the University of Maryland, College Park football program, and subsequent interviews with those involved, the board – in the minds of many – lost sight of its responsibility to the university system,” Gooden said in a brief statement. “While the board’s decision was far from unanimous, and many members voted a different way, everyone on the board now understands that the board’s personnel recommendations were wrong.”
Gooden, on behalf of the board, apologized to the McNair family, the University of Maryland, the College Park community and all Marylanders.
She replaces former Regents Chairman James T. Brady, who resigned from the board last week.
Brady, former campaign chairman for Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. (R), resigned at a closed-door meeting of the board last week, following public outcry after the Regents recommended reinstating football coach DJ Durkin and Athletic Director Damon Evans, who had been suspended in the wake of McNair’s post-practice death last spring.
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh followed the board’s recommendations but simultaneously announced that he would retire in June. Loh then decided to fire Durkin the next day.
“Our goal as a board is to govern in a manner that affords every student an opportunity for a safe, affordable, and quality education experience,” Gooden said Wednesday. “Under my leadership, this board will accomplish that goal by recommitting to the principle of shared governance.”
Gooden joined the board in July 2009. She is a retired executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services and officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
She was originally appointed to the board by former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D) and reappointed by Hogan in 2014.