Radenka Maric, who has served as interim president of the University of Connecticut since February, was named the 17th president of the state’s flagship institution on Wednesday.
The unanimous decision to appoint Maric — formerly UConn’s vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship — came during the school’s Board of Trustees meeting. Maric is the second woman to be president of the university, following Susan Herbst, who stepped down in 2019.
“I love UConn, and I believe in UConn” Maric said during the meeting. “Working with our students, faculty, staff, alumni, coaches, unions, Board of Trustees over the last nine months has been an amazing experience. Their commitment to UConn lifts my spirit every single day, and I cannot express how grateful I am to them for their love of this great university.”
Maric’s appointment is a move toward stability for the university, as two former presidents stepped down from their roles in the last two years.
Former interim president Andrew Agwunobi announced in January that he was leaving UConn for a job with a private sector healthcare company. Before that, Thomas C. Katsouleas resigned after less than two years at the helm, citing “reasons we have discussed over time” as grounds for his decision. Reporting by Connecticut Public Radio later revealed that Katsouleas, who still teaches at UConn, often butted heads with the school’s governing board — notably on a coronavirus mask mandate, graduation plans and tuition hikes.
Board of Trustees President Dan Toscano on Wednesday called Maric “a force of nature” who has distinguished herself as an effective leader determined to get results.
“Dr. Maric has her work cut out for her,” Toscano said. “We as a Board have the utmost confidence in her to advance our priorities and achieve our highest aspirations.”
Maric, born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, joined UConn in 2010 and worked as a faculty member in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering departments. She occupied her role as vice president of research, innovation and entrepreneurship for five years. Her three children also hold degrees from UConn.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who with the Board of Trustees interviewed the two job finalists, said Wednesday that the school “is in good hands” under Maric’s leadership.
“She understands that making Connecticut the most innovative state in the nation requires collaboration between the world’s leading businesses and our higher education institutions,” Lamont said in a statement.
Maric was among more than 150 applicants for the position, according to the university.