2016-05-19 / Neighbors

UNE president to retire in 2017

After 11 years of leadership, Dr. Danielle N. Ripich, president of the University of New England, will step down on June 30, 2017.

Ripich has been called, “the powerhouse behind Maine’s largest private university.” That accolade from Maine Ahead magazine is one of many she has earned during her tenure at UNE. In 2011, Mainebiz named her a 2011 “Woman to Watch” and this year named her the Maine Business Leader of the Year in the nonprofit category. Junior Achievement of Maine recognized her with its Business Leader of the Year award in 2014 and the American Heart Association presented her with the Crystal Heart Award for her leadership and dedication to improving the heart health of the community.

Ripich often advises UNE students, faculty and staff to “sail for the deep water only,” and during the past decade she has led by example. Since becoming UNE’s fifth president in July 2006, she has guided the university through a period of growth, expanding two campuses in Biddeford and Portland and opening a campus in Tangier, Morocco.

UNE’s Board of Trustees has formed a search committee and has taken preliminary steps to find the next person to lead the institution.

Ripich built on the university’s foundation in health education, launching the College of Pharmacy, College of Dental Medicine and the online College of Graduate and Professional Studies. Enrollment grew from 4,000 to more than 10,000 students.

Ripich oversaw growth on the university’s campuses, making targeted investments in facilities and technological infrastructure and providing students with world-class learning environments. In Biddeford, UNE opened new, modern academic facilities, new residential halls and the George and Barbara Bush Center. This summer, construction begins on University Commons, a facility that will provide space for students, staff and faculty to relax, dine, study and engage with one another. The expansion of UNE spaces in Biddeford under Ripich’s direction has continued beyond the shoreline, however. In 2015, UNE was gifted Ram Island to serve as a field station to budding marine and environmental scientists.

Ripich also executed her vision to expand athletics, adding varsity programs in men’s and women’s ice hockey. In 2012, the $20 million Harold Alfond Forum opened with the help of a $10 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. The facilities at the UNE athletic complex will expand again and will accommodate a women’s rugby team beginning next fall and the university’s first-ever football program to launch in fall 2017.

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