On Friday morning, University of Connecticut Interim President and CEO of UConn Health, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, announced that he will leave both of his positions at the university in order to pursue a leadership role at the private sector health care company Humana. He will officially leave his roles on Feb. 20, according to an email sent to the UConn community by UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel Toscano.
The Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Dr. Agwunobi to the position of Interim President in May 2021 shortly after Thomas Katsouleas stepped down. Dr. Agwunobi has retained both his UConn Health Center CEO position and the position of interim president ever since. This will be the second transition of presidential power at UConn in less than one year.
In a letter to the UConn community this morning, President Agwunobi praised the university and expressed regret that he had to leave the UConn community.
“While I am excited about this new opportunity, the decision to leave UConn and UConn Health was extremely difficult,” Agwunobi said via email. “This is an amazing university and special place. It has truly been an honor to serve as a leader here and to work with all of you.”
According to a Humana press release, Dr. Agwunobi will be the new president of the company’s home solutions division and will serve as a member of Humana’s management team.
Shortly after Agwunobi’s announcement, UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel Toscano announced that the Board of Trustees is expected to appoint Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Radenka Maric, as the new interim president. Toscano’s email also says that UConn Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Bruce Liang, is expected to be the next UConn Health CEO. Both appointments will begin February 1st. The board will meet on Jan. 26 to finalize these appointments.
In speaking of the two new interim appointments, Chairman Toscano expressed the board’s confidence in Maric and Dr. Liang’s ability to serve the university.
“Both are outstanding longtime senior leaders at the university and have played vital roles in helping to make UConn the incredibly vibrant, successful institution it is,” Toscano said. “We as a board have immense confidence in them and we will be working very closely together in the months ahead.”
In UConn Today article published this morning, Maric states that she wants to continue the current trajectory of the university and prepare students to face the unique challenges of the 21st century.
“Each year UConn is hitting a new high in our academic excellence, creativity, research, global engagement, partnership and entrepreneurial activities,” Maric said. “With the support of our state government, communities, and industry we are going to continue to keep our students at the center of who we are and prepare them not just for good jobs but for leadership roles in addressing societal challenges.”
In the same article Dr. Liang expressed similar sentiments when discussing his new role.
“I’m honored to accept this interim role and look forward to doing all I can to support UConn Health, our outstanding leadership team, dedicated faculty and staff, and remarkable students,” Dr. Liang said.
Chairman Toscano also announced a commitment to select a permanent president by the fall of this year as well as creating a faculty, staff, and student based Advisory Search Committee as well as a smaller steering committee to find a new president. These committees will be announced in the coming weeks.
The UConn Today article also says Toscano is committed to holding listening sessions with students, staff, and faculty regarding the future course of the university. When asked when these sessions would be held, University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said there were no hard dates, but when there were they would be communicated to all that wished to input.
“Dates haven’t yet been scheduled for the listening sessions, but when that occurs, the University will share the information broadly to ensure it reaches students, employees, alumni, and others who’d like to weigh in” Reitz said via email.