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Vice President For Research Neil Sharkey To Retire

Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey announced this week that he’ll retire after this academic year, effective June 30, 2019. Sharkey has spent 22 years at the university, leading research since August 2013 as interim vice president and since April 2016 in the role permanently.

Sharkey’s office “advances, facilitates, and manages” all research activities across Penn State. During his tenure, Penn State’s research expenditures reached an all-time high of $927 million for 2017-2018. He’s also focused efforts on developing the Invent Penn State initiative to promote entrepreneurship, which launched in 2015.

Before becoming vice president for research, Sharkey served as the associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Health and Human Development, where he’s also a professor of kinesiology. He previously served as director of research for the Department of Kinesiology and as acting director of the Center for Locomotion Studies. His own research has focused on advancing orthopedic medicine.

“Penn State’s a special place. I think people really care about what they’re doing here and are dedicated to the institution. After you’re here for a while as a faculty or staff member, you really do develop a bond to the university,” Sharkey said in a release. “It’s hard to explain, and it’s different from most other places. It’s got something to do with the sports environment, I’m sure, but it’s a little more than that. Maybe it’s the fact that State College is kind of its own island. Whatever the reason, there’s a magic in Penn State that’s palpable.”

Sharkey hopes to hone in on his creative side in retirement, doing some remodeling and building, or physical things, as well as playing his guitar.

“I’m sharpest in the morning, and of course I’m always here working at 7 a.m., so the thought of being able to get out of bed and grab my guitar and get creative, for my own benefit, sounds really neat,” he said in a release.

He added that State College will still be a sort of home for him and his wife, but they plan to travel to New England (where Sharkey grew up) and the Southwest.

A national search for Sharkey’s successor will begin immediately.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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