Chancellor Robert L. Caret Biography
Robert L. Caret joined the University System of Maryland (USM) as chancellor on
July 1, 2015. He was inaugurated as the system's fourth chancellor on November 19, 2015.
Under his leadership, USM has increased enrollment to more than 176,000 students and
awards more than 42,000 degrees-including 75 percent or more of Maryland's bachelor's
degrees--per year. During the same time, USM has kept tuition affordable by dramatically
increasing financial aid, particularly for families with the greatest need, and by offering
multiple pathways to a degree. As a result, nearly 50 percent of USM undergraduate
students graduate without debt.
USM has also become more diverse and inclusive than ever before under Dr. Caret's
leadership. Nearly 50 percent of USM undergraduates are underrepresented (URM) and
other minorities. USM's URM students have also reached increasing levels of success.
USM awarded more than 8,000 bachelor's degrees to URM students in FY 2018 and has
increased STEM bachelor's degrees earned by underrepresented minority students by 27
percent since FY 2016.
During Dr. Caret's tenure, USM has also expanded its role as an economic engine for the
state of Maryland. USM institutions, faculty, students and graduates attracted more than
$1.4 billion in federal and privately funded research dollars in FY 2018. USM has also
established the Maryland Momentum Fund, a venture capital fund designed to provide early
funding for startup companies born out of USM research. To date, that fund has invested
more than $800,000 in four USM-born startup companies.
At the same time, USM has continued to build its reputation for academic and research
excellence. All USM universities have been ranked among the nation's best by such
publications as U.S News & World Report, Kiplinger, The Princeton Review, Washington
Monthly, and others.
Moreover, under Dr. Caret's leadership, USM has reaffirmed its commitment to sound
financial stewardship of student and taxpayer dollars. This is reflected in the system's
strong bond ratings (USM is one of only 26 public higher education institutions to earn
one of Moody's Investor Service's top two ratings) as well as nearly $600 million in
savings that the system has accrued through its Effectiveness and Efficiency initiatives.
Philanthropy throughout USM has also grown under Dr. Caret's tenure, with a record-high of
$408 million raised in private funds in FY 2018.
Additionally, Dr. Caret has championed B-Power, an initiative that brings together
Baltimore City-serving organizations to increase education and career opportunities for
the city's students. He has also made civic engagement a strategic focus for USM as part
of USM's revised strategic plan, which was developed under his leadership.
Before joining USM as chancellor, Dr. Caret was president of the University of
Massachusetts System (UMass) from 2011 until 2015. There he emphasized efficiency,
cost-saving initiatives, and productive working relationships with Massachusetts government
and business leaders. His successful pursuit of a 50-50 funding formula for UMass resulted
in the state and students contributing equally to the university's general education
program and a 22 percent increase in the base budget for two years. He also secured
additional state funding, enabling UMass to freeze tuition and mandatory fees for in-state
undergraduate students for two consecutive years.
Prior to joining UMass, Dr. Caret was president of Towson University (TU) from 2003 to
2011, where he also served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost
during his more than 25-year tenure there. At Towson, he created partnerships with regional
business, non-profit and civic organizations; raised student graduation rates; and
undertook a capital fundraising and building campaign to support campus infrastructure improvements.
He oversaw an increase in the university's online courses and expanded the availability of
TU courses at regional higher education centers. He was instrumental in establishing Towson
University in Northeastern Maryland, which offers transfer students the flexibility to
pursue a four-year degree after completing an associate's degree at a community college.
From 1995 to 2003, Caret served as president of San Jose State University (SJSU), part of the California State University System. He is credited with bringing a vision for SJSU as the metropolitan university of Silicon Valley.
Active in the national higher education community, Caret recently served as chair
of both the National Association of
System Heads and the Association of
Public and Land-grant Universities Board of Directors. He also sits
on the board of Business-Higher
Education Forum, Southern Regional Higher
Higher Ed for Higher Standards Board of Advisors, and
University Industry Research Roundtable.
Caret also serves on a number of boards in Maryland, including the
Greater Baltimore Committee,
Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs,
Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore,
University of Maryland Medical System,
College Savings Plans of Maryland,
World Trade Center Institute,
Maryland Council on Economic Education,
BioHealth Innovation, Inc.,
Maryland Economic Development Corporation.
Additionally, he serves on The Center Club's President's Advisory Council, the Institute of Human Virology Board of Advisors and the Mary Christie Foundation Board of Directors and Council of Experts.
Caret's contributions to and leadership in Maryland have been recognized by The Daily Record, which named him among its 2017 Icon Honors winners and its 2016 list of Influential Marylanders
Caret holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Suffolk University in Boston.
Learn about Caret's goal of working with internal and external partners to advance the University System of Maryland's role as a major educational, research, and economic engine of the state.