Community leaders react to Dudley-Eshbach decision

Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach’s surprise announcement that she will step down in 2018 generated a variety of reactions from those people in the community who know her best:

Her hard work, dedication exemplary, unparalleled

A dear friend and ally, she has advanced SU to a premier university. Under  her exemplary leadership the Salisbury region has much to be proud as she expanded new programs — earning top-flight recognition in US News and World Report, Forbes Magazine and The Princeton Review. Her dedication and hard work to advance the  university is unparalleled. On a personal note, Dan and I wish her and Joe all the best and look forward to our continued friendship. — Dr. Peggy Naleppa, President & CEO of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Helped to make Perdue Business School a reality

The entire Perdue Family appreciates  Janet’s leadership in making Salisbury University a School of Distinction.  I especially appreciate Janet’s personal involvement in making the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business a reality. My Dad, Frank, would have been so proud to be at the opening of the business school.   Salisbury University has been blessed to have leaders who care so much about the school, the students and the community.  — Jim Perdue, Chairman of Perdue Farms.

JDE has been university’s ‘Energizer Bunny’

I knew this day was coming but hoped that it would be delayed for a while longer. Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach is the energizer bunny. Her high energy and vision have taken our university to high  levels never thought imaginable. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to have known and have worked with Janet. Our university has grown and our community has very much benefited as a result. It makes me very proud to say that I am a graduate of the great institution that Salisbury University has become. Thank you Janet! — Salisbury developer Palmer Gillis.

She guided university to unbelievable heights

I was shocked by the news that Dr. Eshback would be leaving SU’s Presidency.  She has done a fabulous job in guiding the university to unbelievable heights in academics, community relations, stature for SU in the Maryland University System, recognition in National Academics and Sports, and building a recognition of the “place” that college-bound students wanted to be for their  higher education opportunities. She became a great friend of Jan and me for so many reasons. I enjoyed working with her for my “alma mater” in the Maryland General Assembly.  She will leave a really great legacy to continue her role for other educational endeavors. — Former Delegate Norman H. Conway.

Embraced Salisbury, Wicomico as her home

What a difference Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach has made with Salisbury University during her tenure.  Always the constant advocate for higher education and the university in Salisbury. She has not only accepted Salisbury University as her profession, but also embraced Salisbury and Wicomico County as her home. — Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver.

SU is now cornerstone of county economics

During her tenure as President of Salisbury University, Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach has demonstrated strength in leadership and a tireless dedication to the advancement of the university, second to none. We’ve witnessed the evolution of Salisbury University from a sleepy college town campus to a nationally recognized institution.  It has been under her leadership, that Salisbury University has become the cornerstone of Wicomico County’s economic development and prosperity.  Her innovative strategies and progressive methods have been an inspiration to us all in Wicomico County. — Wicomico County Council President John Cannon.


Helped bring Salisbury and university together

Our city is blessed to have an institution like Salisbury University as a testament to our stature and our love of learning; yet the real blessing is the people who comprise the university. None has been a greater blessing than the Gulls’ fearless leader for nearly 20 years — Dr. Janet. Of course she changed the face, the value and the power of the college, but I am most grateful — and I suspect we all are — that she worked every day not only to bring Salisbury University closer to greatness, but to bring Salisbury and its university closer together. Bravo, Janet, on a mountain of successes, and we all wish you many years of happiness ahead. — Salisbury Mayor Jake Day.

Three children received education second to none

My association with Salisbury University goes back to the eighties when my kids were growing up and I was a volunteer coach at Parkside. Since Dr. J arrived, the university has grown in size but more importantly has become a University of National Distinction.  All three of my children and their spouses attended Salisbury University and are proud to let everyone that they did.  They received an education second to none and still have ties to the University.  Most importantly they learned how to be good citizens and neighbors. Dr. J will be missed and we will be lucky if her successor has equal vision, compassion and leadership skills. — City Council President Jack Heath.

Has made contributions to Downtown revitalization

Dr. Janet had been a monumental president, not only with her stellar accomplishments on campus. She has also made major contributions to Downtown revitalization and Salisbury’s arts & entertainment initiative by bringing SU Art Galleries and SU Feature Fridays to our downtown. Most importantly, she has brought the town and university closer together through her Town-Gown Council and other collaborative community initiatives. — Lee Whaley.

Passion, intelligence, humor gave her a voice

I first knew Janet when I was President of Towson University. She was a fierce champion for Salisbury University. Her energy, passion, intelligence and humor marked her as someone whose voice would be heard. When I returned as Chancellor, those aspects of her character had not changed, but she also can speak eloquently about the significance of public universities everywhere, particularly their missions to help all students and educate an informed public. She has made higher education her life, and SU, the University System of Maryland, and the citizens of Maryland, are better for it.  — University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret.

JDE made a mark on SU and entire Eastern Shore

I offer my sincere congratulations to Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach on her retirement. She has made a tremendous mark on Salisbury University and the entire Eastern Shore. Through her leadership, the institution is well-positioned for the future. Janet has been a great colleague and I will miss her in that role. However, I am sure that we will remain lifelong friends. — University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Juliette B. Bell.

Always recognized need for education partnerships

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach has done an outstanding job leading and growing Salisbury University since 2000. I have sincerely enjoyed the great personal relationship and appreciated the excellent working collaboration that we have had all of these years. Since the beginning, Janet has recognized the importance of the partnership between our institutions.  We have worked cooperatively in faculty development through joint grants, improved articulation and transfer as the first Maryland institutions to implement reverse transfer to increase graduation rates, and improved student success with the Fall Fusion and Bridges programs, which brought more students to Salisbury and helped strengthen student achievement.  Janet has been a leader with extraordinary vision, but as important, she possesses the ability to get institutional buy-in to achieve her vision, and garnered the resources to complete the vision, which has resulted in Salisbury University becoming an institution of national prominence that is poised for continued growth and success. — Wor-Wic Community College President Dr. Ray Hoy.

Governor salutes 18 years of commitment, service

We thank President Dudley-Eshbach for her 18 years of commitment and service to the students and faculty of Salisbury University and the higher education community. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Dudley-Eshbach’s service is a model to emulate

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach has been quite a leader over the past number of years. She is focused, versatile and said in the beginning she would put SU on the map to become a world-class university. She has been tireless in her leadership in the capital campaign to secure funding for the new buildings and fields and carillon. Her ability to engage the community and funders is quite a model to emulate. — State Sen. Addie Eckardt.

Senator keeps humorous JDE photo on his desk

I am very proud of my relationship with Dr. Janet. I really got to know her when I was mayor of Ocean City.  And, of course, the kids have come over to Ocean City to work for many years and they are such good workers. Of all the academic reasons kids go to Salisbury University, the one universal reason is that it’s near the beach. I have a picture of the two of us on my desk in my home. We were in Crisfield and she had this crab bib, this Salisbury University crab bib, and she put it around my neck one of the first years I was mayor. From an academic standpoint, the university has really grown. My daughter went there and the love of my life, Kathy, graduated from Salisbury University. Dr. Janet has a tremendous legacy. She has been a great inspiration and she has had much success. — State Sen. Jim Mathias.

Results-oriented approach has benefited university

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach’s strategic leadership and her laser-like focus when pushing on SU goals with a direct positive student impact have inspired thousands of SU students and colleagues over the years. From the start, Dr. Dudley-Eshbach has always been student results-oriented when making the case for priority projects like the Perdue School of Business and the Teacher Education and Technology Complex, now Conway Hall. Through her dedicated and determined efforts, Salisbury University is rightfully recognized as a Maryland University of National Distinction.” — Delegate Mary Beth Carozza.

A transformative leader who will be sorely missed

What a privilege it has been to know Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach. As a state legislator, I respect her dedication of time and talents for the good of the university and the community at large. As an alumni and father of children attending Salisbury University, I see her as a transformative leader for positive change in our city and region. She is loved and will be missed. — Delegate Chris Adams.

 Everyone in Annapolis liked and respected her

I understand what she’s saying about being ready for a change — 18 years is a long time to be leading an institution that is so large and important. I’m definitely going to miss her. She put a lot of trust in me. It was an awesome experience working with her in Annapolis, especially on budget issues. Everyone liked her and she was highly respected. Dr. Janet definitely left the university in way better shape than she found it. — Delegate Carl Anderton.

Set the funds bar high in capital campaigns

President Janet is simply amazing. She raised the goals and aspirations of students, faculty, staff and community  to achieve results that could not have been imagined 18 years ago. I was fortunate to have worked on two capital campaigns with her leadership. She raised the bar above what many believed possible and helped us exceed the goals. We owe her a debt of gratitude for the 18 years she has dedicated to Salisbury University. –– Salisbury Realtor Henry Hanna.

Made SU a partner in helping community

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach‘s  impact on Salisbury University has been phenomenal in terms of economic impact, campus expansion, academic prestige and national recognition. What may not be as visible, yet with  overwhelming  significance and economic impact, has also  been her commitment and enthusiastic ability to ensure the university is a strong and actively involved  partner with the Lower Shore business and nonprofit communities. Our community and our local United Way have been truly blessed by her leadership and her commitment to community. — United Way of the Lower Easter Shore Executive Director Kathleen Momme.

Brought excellence to SU through added programs

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach has served as a distinguished and superb President of Salisbury University for the eighteen years just past. During her presidency, Salisbury University has become one of the leading public universities in the nation in numerous ways. The academic standards, the key factor for any institution of higher learning, rank high on the national scale. This excellence has been matched by a major expansion of programs, both undergraduate and graduate. The campus has been expanded with numerous magnificent state of the art buildings to meet the needs of the remarkable enrollment growth. When I arrived in Salisbury 50 years ago, (then Salisbury State Teachers College) had an enrollment of less than 700 and was threatened with foreclosure due to under utilization. The current enrollment is  a remarkable growth by any standard. Salisbury University has become an institution of great value to our community, our state and our nation under the 18 years of distinguished leadership of Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach. — Robert W. Cook, Founder of the Greater Salisbury Committee.

High visibility kept SU connected to community

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach’s high visibility which I feel was instrumental in SU’s growth during her tenure will be missed. A couple of positives with this change are Dr. Dudley-Eshbach has indicated her desire to remain at SU as an instructor and — as a result — her institutional knowledge will remain at our fingertips which will benefit her successor as well as our community. — Former Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce CEO and retired media executive Ernie Colburn.

Has been important partner to public schools system

In many ways, it seems like yesterday that Dr. Janet came into JMB with her husband to enroll her son and daughter in high school.  She had just arrived to begin her tenure as President of the university when I served as principal at Bennett.  It is so hard to believe that was 18 years ago! Since that time, she has become a pillar in our community, serving as a leader in education and continuing to advocate for a strong partnership between our public schools and the university.  I am happy to hear that she will be staying in Salisbury where we can all continue to benefit from her wisdom and experience, and excited for her to be returning to her passion for working with students in the classroom. — Dr. Donna C. Hanlin, Wicomico County Schools Superintendent.

Deserves sincere thanks from our entire community

I want to thank Janet for her outstanding commitment and service to Salisbury University and our total community. As you walk the university campus, you quickly realize what a major impact she had on the growth and development of the university in so many ways. I can only thank her so very much for her years of service at Salisbury University and wish her the very best in all that she will do. She truly deserves that. — Former Wicomico Council President and retired Principal Tony Sarbanes.

Glad we had her; sorry to lose her

A quality lady who has been a real asset to the university and the community/ I’m glad and sad —  glad we had her and sad we are losing her. — Salisbury business leader Ed Wilgus.


A good neighbor who has made community better

As a neighbor of Salisbury University and as a member of this community, I can’t say enough positive about Salisbury U and its leadership.  Janet has been an outstanding president of SU and her leadership has done so much to make our community better. — First Shore Federal Savings Bank CEO Marty Neat.

Secured the resources for continued growth

Dr. Janet is a towering figure in the history of the university.  She is a strong leader and a strong woman who has ushered in a new era in terms of the size and scope of facilities on campus.  She has also navigated the political side of higher education funding, most particular making incredible contacts at the state level to secure the resources for SU and its continued growth. — Salisbury Councilman and former mayor Jim Ireton.

Successor will certainly have big shoes to fill

I suppose all good things must come to an end, but I was not expecting this. The growth, success, progress of Salisbury University under Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach’s leadership has been nothing short of phenomenal. There are so many successes to point out but suffice it to say, she had a hugely positive impact on Salisbury University and the Salisbury community in general. Somebody will have big shoes to fill! — Perdue Farms President & CEO Randy Day.

Has set the example for educational excellence

As one of Salisbury University’s educational partners, the board and staff of Wicomico Public Libraries were as surprised as everyone to hear that Dr. Dudley-Eshbach had announced her retirement.  She has set an example of what educational excellence should be and do, what kind of facilities it should occupy and how it should engage with the community around it.  The impact of her innovative, energetic approach will be felt by for years to come. — Wicomico County Public Library Director Andrea Berstler.

She worked to ensure student safety on campus

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach was always concerned about the saftey of her campus community. When I was State’s Attorney, we added a safety portion to every freshman orientation. Dr. Janet also wanted to be sure the students valued Salisbury and its citizens. — Circuit Court Judge Matt Maciarello.

Understood the balance between work and fun

Dr. Janet embodied what a real Eastern Shore leader is: hard-working and proud of their area. She created an environment where students can have fun while getting one of the best educational opportunities in the United States. The SU campus is the jewel of the Eastern Shore, thanks to Dr. Janet! She makes me proud to be a Gull. –– Duke Marshall, former Alumni Association President.

The most successful president in SU’s history

JDE’s successes are everywhere. To me, she is undeniably the best President that Salisbury University has ever had. And we have been fortunate to have had some very good people in that position. I would love to see an aerial photograph of the SU campus of 2000 laid side by side and next to an aerial view of the SU campus today. That comparison all by itself is a testament the legacy of JDE. Beyond the physical improvements to the campus, of course, come the improvements in the academic reputation of SU. Look at how many of the schools have been endowed, look at the rankings in the education periodicals, look at the size of the student population. As importantly, look at the solidifying of the connection between the university and the city of Salisbury. On so many levels. SU is now downtown, SU students are so actively involved in the community, as volunteers and as interns. SU is perhaps solely responsible for the resurgence in the economic activity in South Salisbury along Route 13. They have been extraordinary stewards under JDE. She was and is tough. She was demanding. She was relentless. She was a leader. She got things done. She was a champion for Salisbury University at the state and national level. On a personal level, she made happen three things that were very important to me. She said yes when we went to her and asked her to start a Salisbury University Relay For Life. She said yes when I went to her and asked if  we could hold the inaugural Red White & Boom on the SU campus. And she said yes when the greater Salisbury committee wanted to throw the Wicomico County 150th celebration in The shining new top floor of the Guerrieri Academic Commons. She will be missed. But I am very happy for her and her husband Joe. They deserve whatever comes next in their life journey. –– Greater Salisbury Committee President & CEO Mike Dunn.


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