AMHERST, Mass. - Robert Helgesen, interim vice chancellor for outreach at the University of Massachusetts, has announced he will retire next October.
Helgesen, formerly dean of the College of Food and Natural Resources (CFNR) since 1989, was appointed last July by Cora B. Marrett, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.
He said that when he was named to the post, he indicated he would serve in the position only on an interim basis and was not interested in a permanent appointment.
"I''ve been an administrator for more than 21 years," said Helgesen, "and during that time, I''ve had to set aside many of my intellectual interests. I look forward to having the time and energy to finally be able to pursue some of those interests in my retirement." Helgesen is an entomologist, and was a researcher and teacher in that field for many years prior to joining the University.
Marrett said she accepts Helgesen''s planned departure "with extremely mixed emotions," recognizing his years of service to the campus, and noting that he assumed the leadership for University outreach "at a particularly critical juncture, marked by accelerated planning around distance education." Marrett also praised Helgesen for having forged "strong bonds" among the units comprising outreach and between that executive area and others, both on and off-campus.
"But I understand fully his desire to return to his work as an entomologist," Marrett said. "In fact, it was his enthusiasm for that work that finally persuaded me to view his retirement positively. I shall always recall with admiration his collegiality - as well as his administrative skills."
Said Helgesen: "I''ve been very pleased to discover an interest in outreach from all segments of the campus. My position has provided me with an exciting opportunity to help launch new initiatives that will move the University in positive and important directions in the future.
"Our outreach opportunities represent not only the University''s land-grant interests, but also have the potential to serve as important sources of revenue to augment state funding to the campus."
Helgesen and his wife plan to relocate to Virginia upon his retirement.