President's Bio


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President's Bio
Office of the President

7th President of Coppin State University


Dr. Maria ThompsonDr. Maria Thompson became Coppin State University's seventh president on July 1, 2015.

Prior to her appointment at Coppin, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta from 2011 to 2015. SUNY Oneonta is a regional comprehensive college with 6000 students offering bachelors and masters degrees. Her accomplishments as provost included the following: development and implementation of a plan for restructuring the division of academic affairs; initiation of the first academic master plan; implementation of a new budget model for academic programs; and successful reaffirmation of the College by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She served as vice chair of the SUNY Association of Chief Academic Officers, an organization consisting of provosts from all 64 SUNY campuses.

Thirteen years of her career were spent building the research enterprise at Tennessee State University (TSU), a land-grant, doctoral research institution with 9000 students located in Nashville. At TSU she held various positions in research administration culminating in a promotion to vice president for research and sponsored programs (VPRSP). In this role she developed and executed a plan that increased externally-funded projects to more than $45M by focusing on grants and contracts that provided experiential learning opportunities for students. As VPRSP she was responsible for the vision and direction of the university's research mission. Her portfolio included patents, copyrights and technology transfer arising from inventions and discoveries. She oversaw research centers and institutes and reported directly to the president of the university.

During her time at TSU, she frequently traveled to Washington, D.C. to interact with Tennessee's congressional delegation. These interactions yielded a number of federal appropriations for brick and mortar projects as well as programming. Most notably, the TSU Nanoscience and Biotechnology Core Facility (NBCF) was established with an appropriation of more than $1M funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The mission of the NBCF is to cultivate a multidisciplinary approach to training the next generation of scientists by providing faculty and students with state-of-the-art nanoscience and biotechnology equipment and creating opportunities for collaboration with industry professionals.

In October 2010, she was awarded over $1 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create the Tennessee State University Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research (TIGER) Institute which is a state-of-the-art graduate-level research facility that provides infrastructure for research in the areas of advanced scientific visualization, smart sensor networking, and materials science and engineering. The project enhances the ability of faculty to compete for extramural funding, to sustain the university process of attracting outstanding student and faculty scholars, and to assist the nation in increasing its underrepresented doctorates in the STEM areas. The TIGER Institute also supports growing industry research collaborations with Boeing, IBM, Raytheon, General Motors, DuPont and other companies.

Thompson graduated from Tennessee State University and holds a Master of Science degree from the Ohio State University in textiles. She earned her doctorate in textile science and textile economics from the University of Tennessee. She has received specialized training in leadership and leading transformation and change from: the Millennium Leadership Initiative sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (2010); the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University (2011); the Spectrum Executive Leadership Program sponsored by the American Council on Education (2013); and the 2014-15 class of the Executive Leadership Academy, a leadership development program jointly developed by the American Academic Leadership Institute, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Independent Colleges.