Valerie Sheares Ashby was named the eighth president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. When she takes office in August, she will be the first woman to lead the university.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County enrolls just under 11,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,500 graduate students, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Education figures. African Americans make up 20 percent of the undergraduate student body.
“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead a university that has excelled in so many ways that are essential both nationally and to me personally — particularly in regards to foregrounding inclusive excellence,” Dr. Ashby said. “I have tremendous respect for all the members of the UMBC community and I am looking forward to working in partnership with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who are the heart of this institution.”
Since 2015, Dr. Ashby has been dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. From 2003 to 2105, Dr. Ashby served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she chaired the chemistry department from 2012 to 2015. Dr. Ashby’s research in synthetic polymer chemistry emphasizes designing and synthesizing materials for biomedical uses.
Dr. Ashby earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed postdoctoral research at Universitat Mainz in Germany.