Fairmont State University has announced that Karl E. Burgher, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President for Research and Contracts, will be leaving his position in July to become the ninth President of the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI).
"Karl will be greatly missed at Fairmont State," said Dr. Daniel J. Bradley, FSU President. "During his short tenure here, he made great strides in creating the Research and Contracts office and in helping our Computer Center."
Burgher has served in his position at FS since July 2004. He drew on his diverse educational and professional background to serve dual roles, overseeing the Office of Sponsored Programs and assuming responsibility, on an interim basis, for Online Learning and Information Technology.
"While I look forward to the opportunities in front of me, this change is bittersweet," Burgher said. "Fairmont State has such a kind and collegial environment; I will miss everyone."
Burgher is a mining engineer and economist who received a B.S. in Mining Engineering in 1980 and an M.S. in Mining Engineering with an emphasis in Costing in 1982 from Michigan Technological University. He received a B.S. in Economics in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Mining Engineering with an emphasis in Natural Resource Economics in 1985 from the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR), where he also received an Honorary Professional Degree in Economics in 2003.
Prior to his position at FS, Burgher served as interim chair of the Department of Economics & Finance at UMR and Project Manager for the Mine Waste Technology Programs and Professor of Mining Engineering at Montana Tech of the University of Montana, a position he held for 10 years. He is a Professional Engineer and a licensed blaster/explosives engineer in four states.
In addition to his administrative and faculty work, Burgher has been committed to community development. He has worked across the U.S. in communities faced with hazardous waste, Superfund and Brownfields issues, facilitating socio-economic development in areas faced with sometimes very technical environmental challenges and often environmental injustices. Burgher was nominated by the community of Newburg, Mo., last year for a Ford Foundation Leadership Award for his work with a Brownfields Redevelopment.
"Dr. Burgher will be a great asset," said Joseph W. Westphal, University of Maine System Chancellor. "He brings great experience in building partnerships and in working with a diverse group of stakeholders. He brings a passionate interest in both the issues and potential of the university and of northern Maine."
UMPI, which currently enrolls 1,652 students, offers bachelor's degree programs, as well as a small number of associate degree programs. The university's mission serves the special needs of Aroostook County, focusing on a curriculum that integrates adventurous learning with the natural and cultural elements of Northern Maine. It participates in the Maine State Consortium, a newly established collaborative involving UMPI, the University of Maine at Machias and the University of Maine at Fort Kent.