Who is Kim Schatzel? What to know about University of Louisville’s new president

New UofL President Kim Schatze speaks to the media and UofL administration after she was named as the 19th President for the University of Louisville. Schatzel is the second woman to lead the school. Nov. 30, 2022

The University of Louisville has picked Kim Schatzel as its a new president.

Schatzel, 66, is president of Towson University in Maryland, but she's taking the top job at U of L, Louisville's board of trustees announced Wednesday. She'll be the second woman to hold that position on a permanent basis, following Neeli Bendapudi, who left nearly a year ago for Penn State University.

She will start at U of L on Feb. 1. In the meantime, here are a few things worth knowing about Schatzel.

She prioritized diversity and inclusion efforts at Towson University

Schatzel joined Towson, a key institution in the Greater Baltimore area, in January 2016.

One of the key developments at the school under her leadership was the establishment of an Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity, per her Towson biography.

Baltimore-area groups have recognized her efforts to prioritize diversity and inclusion, which U of L also highlighted in its news release Wednesday announcing her hiring.

The Associated Black Charities gave her its "Champion for More in the Middle" award in 2017, and the Greater Baltimore Urban League bestowed upon her the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, which is named after a civil rights leader, in 2020 for her community impact.

In its news release, U of L emphasized Towson's six-year graduation rate of 72% − the second-highest in the University System of Maryland − and said Towson "is one of few universities in the nation where Black, Latinx and Pell-eligible students achieve the same graduation rate as the overall student population."

This year, 57% of Towson's students identified as under-represented minorities.

Improving graduation rates is a priority for Louisville. Available data show a six-year rate of about 60% for a cohort of students that started school in 2014.

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She's a first-generation college student who built a private-sector career

Schatzel, who was born in New York, was aided by scholarships as she earned a bachelor's degree at St. Louis' Washington University, and then went on to earn a doctorate in business administration at Michigan State University.

She spoke Wednesday about how she was the first person in her family to go to college, which is an experience one-third of U of L students share.

"I hope they see themselves in me and that they, too, can - and should - aspire to be the president of a premier metropolitan research university," she said.

Schatzel spent over two decades in business, with a career as a serial entrepreneur focused on advanced manufacturing and technology. Her Towson biography noted she's among the under 2% of university presidents with significant professional experience in business and the private sector.

Her professional ascent in higher education started in Michigan

Schatzel eventually shifted to a collegiate career, working as an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She became the associate dean of the school's College of Business in 2005 and then, a few years later, its dean.

Starting in 2012, she moved to Eastern Michigan University, where she served as provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs and also spent six months as interim president.

After that, she headed to Towson as president − and now, to Louisville.

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Reach reporter Morgan Watkins at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kim Schatzel: Louisville announces new U of L president, Towson admin