Nancy Targett will serve as acting president of the University of Delaware.

Presidential search

Trustees announce search committee, select acting president to serve as of July 1


11:45 a.m., March 13, 2015--The University of Delaware Board of Trustees has named a search committee to identify the institution's next president and has selected Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, to serve as acting president, effective July 1, Board Chairman Gil Sparks announced today.

Current UD President Patrick T. Harker announced March 2 that he will step down June 30 to become president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.  

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"I am grateful to Dean Targett for agreeing to take on this important leadership role," Sparks said. "She has the experience, vision and commitment to lead UD as the search committee completes its important work. Over the next three and a half months, she will be working closely with President Harker to ensure a smooth transition in the administration." 

“Having dedicated more than 30 years of my professional life to the University of Delaware, I am honored to serve as acting president,” Targett said. “I look forward to working closely with the students, faculty and staff to build on the accomplishments of President Harker’s tenure and to prepare the way for the next president.”

Speaking about the Presidential Search Committee, Sparks said, "Our diverse 15-member search committee, cochaired by trustees Terri Kelly and Don Puglisi, includes representatives from key University constituencies, including the board, faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni. Together they bring to this critical task a deep knowledge of the University, an understanding of the world of higher education and a keen insight into the essentials of presidential leadership."

Presidential Search Committee

Members of the Presidential Search Committee are 

• trustee cochairs Terri Kelly, president and CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates, and Don Puglisi, MBNA America Professor of Business Emeritus at UD and managing director of Puglisi & Associates;

• trustees Tony Allen, who leads corporate communications for Bank of America's Consumer Banking and Business Banking divisions; Mariah Calagione, vice president of the Dogfish Head companies; Joan Coker, otolaryngologist, ENT of Delaware; Stuart Grant, co-founder and managing director of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.; Mike Geltzeiler, chief financial officer and senior vice president at the ADT Corp.; and Mary Jane Willis, vice chair of the Board of Trustees; 

• student Georgina Class-Peters, a junior from Smyrna, Delaware, with a double major in criminal justice and political science; 

• UD parent and alumnus Fred Cottrell, vice chair of the Litigation Department at Richards, Layton & Finger; 

• faculty members Mary Dozier, Unidel Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development; Debra Hess Norris, chair of the Department of Art Conservation and Unidel-Henry Francis du Pont Chair of Fine Arts; Babatunde Ogunnaike, dean of the College of Engineering and William L. Friend Chaired Professor of Chemical Engineering; and Robert Opila, professor of materials science and engineering and president-elect of the Faculty Senate; and 

• staff member José-Luis Riera, dean of students. 

"I thank them all for their dedication to UD and willingness to serve in this important capacity," Sparks said. "The trustees have asked the committee to proceed diligently and deliberately. The Search Committee's goal is to bring to the Board of Trustees the best candidates to lead this University, not to meet an arbitrary timeline."

About Nancy Targett

A member of the UD faculty since 1984, Targett has served as dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and director of the Delaware Sea Grant College Program since 2005. CEOE has a global reach with research and teaching programs extending around the world and studies ranging from the upper atmosphere to the floor of the deep ocean. 

A nationally recognized expert on ocean issues, she is immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and is an officer of the Sea Grant Association, a national network of 32 Sea Grant College Programs.

Targett is a marine chemical ecologist and the co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation climate education study totaling more than $5 million. 

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she earned her master's degree in marine science at the University of Miami and her doctorate in oceanography at the University of Maine. 

Targett lives in Sussex County, Delaware, and has played an active leadership role in several community and educational organizations there. 


Editor's note: This article was updated May 7, 2015.

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