In the wake of former Stockton University President Herman J. Saatkamp Jr.’s resignation last month, acting President Harvey Kesselman has agreed to remain in the position at the request of the college’s Board of Trustees.
The decision to stay at Stockton has thwarted Kesselman’s previous plan to become president of the University of Southern Maine. Madeline Deininger, board chair at Stockton, had written USM asking that Kesselman be released from his contract, which stated he was to assume the position this July.
Kesselman said in a prepared statement that his longtime connection to the university makes him both qualified and willing to see the college through this challenge.
“Stockton has been a part of me since its founding, and I cannot walk away now,” he said. “(T)he trustees felt they needed someone with thorough knowledge of the university, the region and the state to ensure continuity as we enter the next academic year and maintain our tradition of excellence in education.”
His presence is intended to provide continuity of leadership while the institution navigates issues that have arisen because of its plan to develop a campus at the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, according to a news release.
Saatkamp cited several factors when he announced his resignation late last month, including health considerations. He initially intended to stay on through the summer, in part to continue with plans to build its satellite campus at Showboat and the Stockton Aviation and Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township, but said the following week that he would step down immediately.
The proposed Atlantic City campus has been the subject of great uncertainty in recent months, as Stockton’s plans to convert Showboat have been challenged by neighboring Trump Taj Mahal. The snags came after Stockton purchased the shuttered casino late last year for $18 million, in a deal that has since become the subject of criticism.
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