Education and business leader currently serving as interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas — Fort Smith begins UMF presidency July 1

Edward Serna Headshot 280x350

Farmington, Maine — University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that Dr. Edward Serna will be the next president of the University of Maine at Farmington. Dr. Serna, currently the interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas — Fort Smith (UAFS), was chosen as part of a campus and community engaged national search for new campus leadership.

Dr. Serna traveled to Farmington with his family for an announcement ceremony today and plans to meet with campus and community leaders as part of the visit. He begins his service as UMF’s 15th president on July 1, 2019. Vice President and Provost Eric Brown has been serving as interim president over the last year.

Dr. Serna has a diverse and accomplished background in business and education that includes leading change management and process re-engineering initiatives in public higher education, large, private-sector enterprises, the U.S. Army, and NASA. His work at UAFS, an institution with an enrollment of 6,600 students and annual budget of $80 million, has included leading initiatives focused on student success, student retention, and data-driven innovation.

The UAFS Promise program, developed under Dr. Serna’s leadership, is an example of educational reform that aligns with the strategic priorities of Maine’s public universities. A highly successful recruitment and retention initiative, the UAFS Promise provides students with fixed tuition and a streamlined pathway to graduation in return for a student commitment to make satisfactory academic progress and adhere to advising guidance.

Dr. Serna entered higher education in 2007 teaching a variety of information system and leadership courses. He holds a doctorate of education in higher education from the University of Alabama.

Visit these links for Dr. Serna’s:


Comments of University of Maine System Chancellor James Page

“Dr. Edward Serna is an innovative and impactful higher education leader with broad experience leading change in both the private and public sector,” said James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Dr. Serna shares our commitment to measuring our progress in terms of student and state success. The Board and I were also impressed by many of the initiatives achieved under Edward’s leadership in Arkansas, noting how well aligned his accomplishments are with the strategic priorities that will guide and expedite educational reform in Maine over the next five years.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Edward, Lauren, and their daughters to Maine and the University of Maine at Farmington.

“The search committee delivered on its charge. I commend Trustee David MacMahon and the search committee for their work and thank the campus and community stakeholders who participated in our successful national search for a new president.

“We must also thank Interim President Eric Brown for his leadership over the last year. A valued colleague and academic leader, we are grateful for Dr. Brown’s service to the institution and its students.”

Comments of Dr. David MacMahon, University of Maine System Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee

“Maine faces a workforce shortage and a skills gap that require us to reach Mainers who have traditionally been underserved by public higher education,” said Dr David MacMahon, Trustee and Chair of the UMF Search Committee. “In Dr. Edward Serna we have identified a new president for the University of Maine at Farmington who can help lead our state response to Maine’s challenges while maintaining a commitment to the liberal arts traditions of Maine’s first-established institution of public education.

“Today is a proud and optimistic day for the University of Maine at Farmington. The devotion to this institution is remarkable and it was a privilege working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community stakeholders who contributed ideas and energy to our search.”

Comments of Dr. Edward Serna, Incoming UMF President

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed the next president of the University of Maine at Farmington,” said Dr. Edward Serna. “The story here is 155 years in the making, a legacy of liberal arts education that has prepared generations of students for a life of richness, discovery and service to Maine.”

“I am inspired by the vibrancy of the UMF community and the understanding that public higher education is a shared and essential resource that must assume an even greater leadership role in Maine’s future. We have remarkable opportunities on this campus and across this System to demonstrate value and deliver solutions.”

“Lauren, Anna Kate, Caroline, and I are looking forward to our move to Farmington. I am eager to listen, learn, and consider together the many ways that our university can contribute to the success of Maine and its students.”


University stakeholders welcome Dr. Edward Serna and his family to UMF

“The business and community leaders who serve on the UMF Board of Visitors support and advocate for the institution and advise is leaders. We are united in our love of lifelong learning and appreciation for the outstanding liberal arts education UMF provides. Dr. Serna brings an impressive resume and a true commitment to higher education and relationship building to Farmington. It is a pleasure to welcome our new president and his family to the community. We look forward to engaging in and supporting his work.”

— David Levesque, Chair, University of Maine at Farmington Board of Visitors

“The faculty at UMF share a commitment to academic success and providing high-quality educational experiences for each of our students. Dr. Edward Serna is an educator and academic leader who impressed the campus community with his commitment to liberal arts scholarship and student success. We are pleased to welcome Edward to campus and look forward to the work we will do together preparing our students to be skilled and knowledgeable global citizens.”

Dr. Jean Doty, UMF Professor of Biology

“Our national reputation as a small, public liberal arts institution of excellence drew a great deal of interest and talent to our presidential search candidate pool. No one candidate had all the right answers, so we needed to identify a leader committed to asking the right questions. Dr. Serna stands out as a leader who will learn from us all and help UMF continue our cherished, high impact traditions in liberal arts education and teacher preparation and merge those traditions with emerging opportunities for broader public higher education service.”

— Wendy Harper, UMF Associate Professor of Economics

“I tell students and now incoming presidents and their families that the University of Maine at Farmington is a home with arms wide open waiting for you to jump in. Our students are curious, accepting, and talented, and I am very proud of how so many of my peers have stepped forward and helped provide campus leadership and support for our fellow students this year. Our sense of place is very special and we are eager to share it with the entire Serna family.”

Jessica Freeborn, UMF Student Senate President