PORTLAND  — The president of the University of Southern Maine will leave her post this month as the school continues to face significant budget challenges, University of Maine System Chancellor James Page said Tuesday.

Theo Kalikow, who has served as the interim president since 2012, will leave the office July 18 and become acting vice chancellor of the University of Maine System through the end of her contract next year, he said.

Page said in a statement that it’s time for new leadership to deal with the fiscal challenges and other issue facing the Portland university.

The school is “in the midst of a difficult transition,” Kalikow said in a statement.

“It has been a privilege to serve this university and its students, but I agree with Chancellor Page that it’s time to bring new energy and a new perspective to the university,” she said.

The school used emergency funds, laid off more than two dozen staff members and accepted voluntary retirements from faculty members to close a $14 million shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1.


It now faces a $12.5 million shortfall in the next fiscal year and is considering the elimination of three programs, which drew protests from students last month.

Page said that he’s working with campus and community leaders to pick an interim president. The school will launch a formal search for a new permanent president this fall.

Prior to taking over at USM, Kalikow was president of the University of Maine at Farmington for nearly two decades.

In her new role, she will help develop a strategic plan for the University of Maine System.

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