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Tribute to Paige Mulhollan

Dr. Mulhollan was a founding member of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and Wright State University’s third president. CUMU remembers Paige for his dedication to the metropolitan university mission of engagement, service and leadership to our cities.

  • "Paige was the father of the Metropolitan Universities, today known as the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU). I first met Page in the mid-80s as he began to promulgate his ideas on the Metropolitan Universities, a term he trademarked at that time. We have all (faculty, staff, and students) benefited from his efforts, his vision, and his dreams. He helped define us and the work continues through CUMU, the Metropolitan Universities journal, and our institutions. Paige will be missed but he will not be forgotten and his dream will live on. Generations will continue to benefit from the idea he germinated and nurtured."
    -Robert Caret
    President, University of Massachusetts

  • "Paige Mulhollan had the energetic drive that made CUMU come together! He felt passionately about the need to recognize urban and metropolitan universities as a specific 'type' of university, and wanted that distinctiveness to be reflected in the Carnegie Classification scheme. He saw the idea of a new membership organization as a way to raise the visibility of and respect for metropolitan universities. In doing this, Paige was among the first higher education leaders to articulate the concepts that are the foundation of our current global conception of "community engagement." His presence at CUMU meetings always contributed humor, optimism, focus and commitment to the discussions, and he had a positive impact on many people's careers, including my own. We always enjoyed talking about our common roots in Northwest Arkansas and our love of bird watching, as well as our shared belief in the unique roles of urban and metropolitan universities. He encouraged me throughout my dissertation study on the metropolitan mission. He was a university leader determined to make a difference in society beyond the campus. Ever humble in all aspects of life, he would resist our praise. However, the evidence is clear - in helping to found CUMU and in the partnerships he created at Wright State University, Paige did a great deal to set the community engagement field in motion toward the prominent role it plays in higher education today."
    -Barbara Holland
    Editor, Metropolitan Universities

  • "In 1983 I became Chancellor of a new university, the one now called the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I was thus privileged to join with Paige and other colleagues in promoting the development of a new breed of institution, the “urban” or “metropolitan” university. In 1990, Paige organized a conference at Wright State which led to the creation of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), which continues to the present as the keystone organization of the continuing metropolitan university movement. Paige Mulholland was a warmly and highly regarded presidential friend and colleague. He was also a significant leader in the continuing history of the evolution of our American higher education system."
    -Donald N. Langenberg
    Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland
    See full statement PDF

  • In 1989, Dr. Mulhollan and a group of like-minded university presidents, chancellors, provosts, and leaders in higher education delineated a unique niche in higher education and supported the formation of a national movement that had its formal start at a conference titled “Metropolitan Universities: Models for the Twenty-first Century” . We are forever indebted to Paige Mulhollan for his astute vision of Metropolitan Universities, for his personal dedication to the advancement of the model, and for his leadership in establishing a national peer group.
    -Karen A. White
    Former Regional Chancellor University of South Florida St. Petersburg
    See full statement PDF

  • While at Arizona State University and Wright State University he came to understand the importance of the role of universities located in urban areas, to serve not only all the traditional roles of a university but also to provide the leadership to address the challenges facing these metropolitan area, some of the most important challenges the nation would face during the latter part of 20th century and the first part of 21st century, simply because this is where the people lived. To that end he defined Wright State University as a metropolitan university with the goal of serving all the traditional responsibilities of the classic university but assuming responsibility to assist the region in the challenges of cultural, educational and economic development at all levels, from pre-school education to the continued nurturing of job-producing industries.
    -Charles Hathaway
    Chancellor Emeritus, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    See full statement PDF


  • Paige Mulhollan was a remarkable leader, mentor and colleague who was a national leader in articulating the important role urban and metropolitan universities play in our society. For those of us who had the good fortune to work directly with him we all recognized we were blessed to work with a visionary. CUMU was always a part of his vision for metropolitan universities and without his fine leadership and stewardship of the Coalition during its infancy I doubt that it would exist today. CUMU and all of higher education has lost a great friend, colleague and visionary but we will be forever grateful for his service and leadership.
    -Jim Harris
    President, Widener University

Dr. Paige E. Mulhollan
1934-2012

"A metropolitan university
should accept its relationship to the surrounding metropolitan region as its essential rationale, its reason for being. By accepting this mission, a university affirms that it not only accepts the academic and scholarly obligations and responsibilities incumbent upon all excellent universities but that it also intends to extend the expertise and energies of the university to the metropolitan region." (Hathaway, Mulhollan, White, 1990)



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