Interim President speaks
Posted on Sep 11, 2012 in News
On Thursday, August 16, it was announced that President Carol K. Garrison would be stepping down after a decadelong run as president of UAB.
Just days later, Chancellor Robert Witt asked Richard Marchase Ph.D. who he called, “an accomplished scholar, researcher and administrator,” to take the reins of UAB as interim President.
“It was very gratified; this is an invigorating experience,” said Marchase.
Marchase takes the interim position leaving behind the role of Vice President for Research and Economic Development, which he assumed in 2005.
Marchase said he “still meets with them (the department of Research and Economic Development) weekly,” but over 90 percent of his time is focused on being the interim president.
Though, he says that filling Garrison’s shoes is a challenge.
“She (Garrison) was a really remarkable president,” said Marchase. “I am trying not to miss a beat, it’s like drinking out of a water hose, but we’re doing well. There is a steep learning curve.”
Marchase said that in his short time that he has worked tirelessly to be brought up to speed on the intricacies of UAB.
UAB is way more complex than other businesses or universities, Marchase said pointing to the 1.8 billion dollar budget and his multifaceted position.
As the president of UAB, the state’s largest single employer, he also chairs the board of the UAB Health System, which includes UAB Hospital, The Kirklin Clinic and other of UAB’s nationally ranked patient care facilities and the board of Southern Research Institute.
He added the he has spent numerous hours in meetings with administrators throughout the institution.
While he acknowledges this appointment as President will be temporary, Marchase wants to “be much more than a caretaker.”
“I am trying to budget all my desires. Innovation is our conerstone, we want to brand this University with innovation,” said Marchase.
“Long term changes in the strategic plan will not change. Something’s I will not try to put my imprint on, but we can make significant changes in six months or so,” Marchase said.
Students will not be affected much by the transition period, he said.
The plans for the Hill University Center renovations and the new dormitory are still set to go before the Board of Trustees this week.
“We want to be on a trajectory for progress, which is the hallmark of UAB,” said Marchase.
Marchase said that Witt will be naming a search committee for a permanent President soon, and he expects Witt will set a timetable within in a few weeks.