UNH President to retire next year; replacement may take chancellor job too

By Monitor staff

Published: 09-06-2023 2:36 PM

UNH President James Dean Jr. will retire at the end of the school year and it’s possible the job will change when he goes.

Dean will have been president of the state’s flagship state college for six years by the time he retires at the end of June 2024 in addition to serving two years as interim chancellor of the state’s university system, which includes Plymouth State and Keene State universities as well as UNH-Manchester and Granite State College. The two positions were combined “on an interim basis” after Chancellor Todd Leach left in June 2021.

The board of trustees for the state’s public colleges “is discussing the future governance model of the university system, including the continuation of the dual president and chancellor role.”

Dean, 67, came to UNH in 2018. Before that he was vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and was dean of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he was a professor of organizational behavior. He earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in organizational behavior from Carnegie Mellon University and his bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Catholic University of America. 

Jan Dean, the retiring president's wife, served with UNH’s Student Basic Needs Initiative and as president of the Oyster River Womenade.

While Dean was president of UNH, the state’s colleges set a goal to lower the cost of attendance, especially for in-state students by providing about $250 million in institutional financial aid.

In addition, state colleges froze tuition for in-state students for the past five years in a row, including the 2023-2024 academic year.

However, New Hampshire still ranks among the highest in cost for in-state tuition. A degree from UNH’s main campus in Durham has a price tag of $35,000 a year, when tuition, fees and housing are considered. The state also ranks among the lowest in public funding for higher education.

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University officials praised Dean’s leadership following Wednesday’s announcement.

“UNH has also furthered its status as a top-tier research university, continually increasing annual competitive research expenditures and securing multiple record-setting research contracts from key federal funding agencies, including NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation among others,” school officials said in a statement.