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Martin University president making quick exit

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George Miller is stepping down as president of Martin University, just 18 months after accepting the job.

Martin announced Friday that Miller has accepted another opportunity, which it did not identify.

In a press release, the university said it was accepting the resignation “regretfully.” It said Miller addressed a number of the university’s challenges, including fiscal problems and increasing community outreach.

Miller, whose last day will be Nov. 1, is a former astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He is the school’s third president, following Algeania Freeman and the Rev. Boniface Hardin.

Hardin, a Benedictine monk who founded the college in 1977, had served as president nearly 20 years before retiring in early 2008.

Freeman succeeded Hardin and helped to close a $653,000 deficit by collecting $450,000 in gifts and cutting the 95-person faculty 25 percent. But her tactics quickly drew complaints from employees who said Freeman was overly harsh and shuffled people into jobs that made little sense.

Students protested
after a popular professor was fired, and seven members of the university’s 16-person board of trustees resigned in November 2008, including at least two who said Freeman’s methods were a factor.

In December 2010, the university’s board chairman said Freeman had made the decision to retire. Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, a former NCAA executive, has been serving as acting president.

Miller comes to Martin from Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., where he served as vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemistry.

He’s held similar administrative positions at several universities, including at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., and Bowie State University in Bowie, Md.

Before his academic career, Miller spent almost five years at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., as an astrophysicist in the planetary atmosphere division.

His desire to teach led him to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., where he began his academic career, according to a press release announcing his hiring at Martin.
 

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