SU President Emerita Dudley-Eshbach earns Icon Honors


SALISBURY — During 18 years as Salisbury University’s president, Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach changed the skyline of Route 13 with new buildings on campus, oversaw the implementation of signature academic programs, and set record student diversity and inclusion numbers.

Recognizing these accomplishments and more, the Baltimore-based Daily Record has named her among its 2020 Icon Honors recipients. This award salutes Maryland business leaders over age 60 who have demonstrated success and strong leadership within and outside of their chosen fields.

“This year’s Icon Honors recipients exhibit an impressive record of accomplishment, leadership and vision,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, Daily Record group publisher. “They represent a level of professional achievement and community awareness and action that is truly remarkable. They also mentor the next generation and serve as examples for all of us.”

Dudley-Eshbach was appointed SU’s eighth president in 2000, the first woman to hold the office. She stepped down from the position in 2018 as the University System of Maryland’s (USM’s) longest-serving female president.

Following her tenure as president, she remained on staff during a one-year appointment as special advisor. She continues to serve as a faculty member at the University, teaching intermediate Spanish and Latin American culture and civilization in the Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies Department.

“As the second-longest-serving president in SU history, President Dudley-Eshbach laid a strong foundation upon which we continue to build today,” said SU President Charles Wight. “Her many contributions to the University, and to the greater community, make her very deserving of this distinguished honor.”

During Dudley-Eshbach’s presidency, the University grew in enrollment from 6,400 students to 8,700, and in size from 114 acres to 220. In that time, diverse enrollment increased from just 11 percent in 2000 to some 25 percent in 2018. Satellite programs also expanded to include five sites in Maryland, as well as Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany (in partnership with the University of Maryland Global Campus).

Strategic partnerships and the elevation of town-gown relationships also were part of Dudley-Eshbach’s vision for SU. Under her leadership, the University played a highly visible role in the renaissance of downtown Salisbury, including SU Downtown, housing SU Art Galleries Downtown, the Eastern Shore Regional GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Cooperative and the forthcoming Dave and Patsy Rommel Center for Entrepreneurship.

Academically, she oversaw the establishment of the recently endowed Glenda Chatham and Robert G. Clarke Honors College, the English Language Institute, and the Center for International Education, named in her honor in 2018. She also created the Rick Dudley Scholarship, the first endowed fund in the USM dedicated to graduate students with disabilities; and the Dudley-Eshbach Study Abroad Scholarship for students wishing to study in a Spanish-speaking country in Latin America.

During her tenure as president, Dudley-Eshbach also transformed the campus with state-of-the art facilities including the Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, Conway Hall, Perdue Hall, the Richard A. Henson Medical Simulation Center, the Sea Gull Square residence-retail complex, the first parking garage, a renovated fitness center and residence halls, and the re-configuration of the University’s athletics complex, including Sea Gull Stadium.

While expanding physically, the University also expanded its commitment to the environment, as Dudley-Eshbach signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging to reduce the campus’ net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Highlights of the University’s Climate Action Plan during her time as president included the Eastern Shore’s first U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design (LEED)-certified new construction project (Conway Hall, in 2008), the establishment of a Green Fund to implement student-led sustainability projects on campus, and SU’s being recognized as one of the nation’s “Green Colleges” by The Princeton Review.

Along with The Princeton Review, other publications, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, consistently ranked SU among the nation’s best and best-value higher education institutions during her tenure. Those designations continue today.

This year’s Icon Honors recipients will be honored during a virtual event at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. For tickets and more information, visit

For more information about SU, visit

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