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Univ. of Md. at College Park Gets New President

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The University of Maryland at College Park is getting a new president.

Doctor Wallace Loh will succeed President Dan Mote Junior, who is stepping down after 12 years in the job.

Loh will take the reigns at a particularly difficult time for the school -- with costs rising and its budget shrinking.

The first thing to know about Wallace Loh is that he loves higher education, and he has a lot of degrees to prove it --- a bachelors degree from Grinnell College, a masters from Cornell University, a doctorate from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a law degree from Yale.

"Yes, I'm afraid I'm a professional student," he admits.

But while Loh may feel at home on many college campuses, he started his academic career as an outsider.

He was born in Shanghai and went to high school in Lima, Peru. In 1961 he moved to Grinnell, Iowa and enrolled as an undergraduate -- an experience he calls transformative.

"I had to learn the language, and put myself through college," he says. "But what made it possible was the generosity of the people of Iowa and of course the college that provided work opportunities and financial aid."

Loh says that left him with several key values: commitments to academic excellence, to fostering diversity and to developing partnerships abroad. And he says those are the values he wants to instill in the University of Maryland.

"In other words, to become a university without borders," he says. "To send Maryland students abroad -- it can be a transformative experience for them. And to bring the best and the brightest around the world to Maryland."

Loh has served as a dean at the University of Washington Law School, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Seattle University. Most recently he served as executive vice president and provost of the University of Iowa, where he made reducing excessive drinking a priority.

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