Kathryn A. Foster, the president of the University of Maine at Farmington for the last six years, will step down from the top post to accept a new position in her native New Jersey, college officials said Tuesday.

Foster has accepted an appointment as the next president of The College of New Jersey, which serves 7,400 students in Ewing Township, New Jersey. She plans to leave UMF on June 30 and start the new job July 1.

In a news release Tuesday morning, James H. Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System, called Foster “a dynamic and extraordinarily talented higher education leader and advocate.”

“The University of Maine at Farmington is a stronger institution, better positioned for success and service to Maine and its students because of Kate’s inspired guidance,” Page said in the release. “The Board of Trustees and I are grateful for the time she has spent with us as a colleague and a friend. We thank Dr. Foster for her service and wish her and The College of New Jersey every success.”

Page said he will discuss leadership needs at UMF with campus and community stakeholders, including during a campus visit scheduled for April 4. College officials said they will develop a plan for transitional leadership based on the input that will be announced before the end of the current school semester.

At the time of Foster’s appointment in 2012, college officials said she would be paid a salary of $160,000.

UMF has about 1,670 full-time undergraduate students and 1,583 undergraduate full-time equivalents, for a total of about 3,250 students.

Foster became UMF’s 14th president following her appointment in 2012, when she was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. She took over from Theodora J. Kalikow, who retired after 18 years of leading the Farmington college.

In the UMaine System release, college officials cited top advancements under Foster’s tenure as stabilization of the college’s enrollment, achieving a 10-year accreditation, and aligning plans for “programming and investment with university strategic, master, recruitment and retention, advancement and marketing plans.” UMF also has refurbished its gymnasium, improved classroom and student spaces, upgraded residence halls and built a central biomass heat plant that officials have said generates $7 in economic activity for every dollar spent to fuel the facility.

Foster, in a message sent Tuesday to members of the UMF campus community, said she was grateful for the support and camaraderie she’s received since coming to Farmington in 2012.

“Many would understand the strong tug to new opportunity, but Mainers especially will appreciate the powerful pull to home,” she said in the message.

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