University of Minnesota Duluth chancellor to retire

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel is beginning the search for a new chancellor immediately and is hopeful to be able to appoint someone to the position by the end of next semester.

University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor Lendley Black stands before a photo wall of all the university's chancellors Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in UMD's Darland Administration Building, shortly after he announced his plans to retire after this academic year. Andee Erickson / Duluth News Tribune
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University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor Lendley "Lynn" Black announced his plans to retire this summer, or whenever his replacement can start.

Black has served as chancellor since 2010.

"I'm at a point in my life where I'm certainly not getting any younger and I want to be able to enjoy my family in ways I've not been able to. As you can imagine, this job is very demanding of time," Black said of his decision to retire this year at a news conference on Thursday.

Black's career in higher education started 40 years ago, 12 of which were spent at UMD. He said it will be his impact on students, many of whom he still hears from, that will be the legacy he carries with him.

Now he's ready to direct that attention to his grandchildren in the Twin Cities and Massachusetts. He and his wife, Connie, plan to stay in Duluth as active community members and will continue living in their home near campus.


"We love the community and really enjoy being able to be a part of the business community," Black said. "There are some community issues I want to work on as Lynn Black, not just as chancellor. That's another reason to stay here."

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel is beginning the search for a new chancellor immediately and is optimistic that the university will make an appointment by the end of next semester, Black said.

Gabel has begun forming a search committee, that typically consists of students, faculty, staff and, in the past, even community members. While Black won't be part of that committee, he said he'll stick around to help with the transition.

"Since 2010, Lynn has served as UMD’s chancellor, elevating the campus’ distinctive strengths, reputation and presence, including through comprehensive strategic planning, new degree creation and student life programming,” Gabel said in a news release.

Black has had to address several budget deficits during his time as chancellor, and considered sticking around longer to help see UMD through to some stronger budget days, but decided it's time to let someone else tackle those issues. UMD's last budget reduction took effect in 2020, when $5.2 million was cut from the school’s operations and management budget.

The pandemic presented new budget challenges, but UMD was not without federal and system financial support. Black said he's confident the university is in good shape and will see the other side of the long-known budget struggles.

He credited his ability to stay in the chancellor position for double the national average — despite all the job's stressors — to support he received from other administrators and to his drive to advocate for the "outstanding" people at UMD.

He thanked UMD students, faculty and staff, including those that challenged him.


"I always felt at the heart of those challenges, no matter how much they may have disagreed with the administration or things that were happening, they did it because they really cared about UMD or the students here," Black said. "I can deal with anything if people are approaching me from that perspective. I say 'thank you' for the good times and the bad times. That seems trite maybe, but I really, really mean it."

Citing support from Gabel, the U of M Board of Regents and the state Legislature, Black said he's hopeful the future will be bright for UMD.

This story was updated at 5:17 p.m. Nov. 4 with additional information from Chancellor Black. It was originally posted at 10:25 a.m. Nov. 4.

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