Edna Mora Szymanski, the tenth president of Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), has announced that she will retire on June 30, 2014. Szymanski has been MSUM’s president since July 1, 2008. Under her leadership, the university strengthened its focus on educational excellence, maintaining access for students from all backgrounds and alignment of programs of study with regional workforce needs. Szymanski’s tenure also included challenges including budget cuts and major floods, as well as accomplishments such as incorporating established business principles for fiscal sustainability and a strategic planning process that focuses the university’s future on student success.
Szymanski said she informed Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone of her decision last fall.
“The proudest day of my career occurred when I joined this exceptional academic community,” said Szymanski. “But as my husband of 40 years and I discussed our retirement plans, we decided that we would like to spend more time together, expand my garden, exercise more regularly, travel extensively and enjoy winter in a warmer climate.”
“President Szymanski has been a terrific leader who has dramatically improved the quality of the education the university provides its students and partnerships it has built with community leaders and business”, said Rosenstone.
Faculty Association President Theodore Gracyk noted that Szymanski arrived at MSUM just as the national and state economies entered a sharp downturn and then a prolonged recession.
“These events have created a crisis for public higher education. Without President Edna’s optimism and respect for the traditions of this institution, we would be in sad shape today,” said Gracyk. “But, above all, the Faculty Association recognizes and appreciates President Edna’s respect for shared governance and an “open” office door. We appreciate her commitment to professional collaboration that the state of Minnesota established between the administration and a unionized faculty. We can only hope that her successor will, like Edna, govern with the philosophy that the curriculum belongs to, and reflects, the faculty who deliver it.”
Szymanski said that as the university enters its 125th anniversary this summer, the timing seemed right to announce her decision.
“The university’s 125th anniversary celebration makes next year a good transition time,” she said. “The events of the celebration will provide momentum throughout the year. Chancellor Steven Rosenstone will initiate a national search in the fall and come to campus to consult with students, faculty, staff and community leaders on the desired qualities of the next president.”
Szymanski and her husband, Michael, will make their permanent home in the Detroit Lakes area.