UConn names 17th university president: ‘I love UConn and I believe in UConn’

Matt Slocum, AP

The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees appointed Interim President Radenka Maric as the university’s 17th president in a unanimous vote Wednesday morning.

Out of a pool of 150 candidates, including sitting university presidents, provosts and chief academic officers from three continents, UConn selected one of their own, preaching a message of stability after three years of leadership changes and pandemic.

Trustees described Maric as a “change agent,” a “strong yet empathetic leader,” and the “right president” to lead UConn into its next chapter.

“She is a force of nature: deeply committed to UConn, determined to get results, and all-in when it comes to leading this institution into a future that will be defined by success and achievement,” Board of Trustees Chair Daniel Toscano said.

Andrea Dennis-LaVigne, the board’s vice-chair, described this moment as a “critical point” for UConn in its “progression towards excellence.”

Among other core priorities, Maric said that during her tenure as president, she will focus on building trust, maintaining affordability, improving environmental sustainability, embracing diversity equity and inclusion, enhancing economic development, and, above all, putting students first.

“We need to keep UConn affordable and accessible: A college degree and the college experience has never been more important for motivated leaders of our future,” Maric said. “I love UConn and I believe in UConn.”

Maric joined UConn in 2010 as a professor in the School of Engineering. From 2017 to 2022, she served as UConn’s vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, where she is credited with advancing the university’s research funding and reputation as a research institution. During that time, awards to UConn and UConn Health doubled from $184 million in 2017 to $376 million in 2020, according to the university.

Before that, she served as executive director of the UConn Technology Park and Innovation Partnership Building from 2015 to 2017.

Prior to joining UConns, she worked as a program manager for Canada’s Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation and is a highly regarded expert in clean energy innovation.

Since coming to Connecticut, all three of her children have graduated from UConn.

Maric, who was born in Yugoslovia and educated at Kyoto University in Japan, is fluent in four languages (Croation, English, German and Japanese) and is also a painter, pianist and designs and sews many of her own clothes.

Maric assumed her current role on Feb. 1, following the departure of Interim President Andrew Agwunobi. The university started its search for a new president after Thomas Katsouleas stepped down from the role in June 2021, less than two years into the job.