Penn State Selects Task Force To Lead Search For Next President

Penn State’s Board of Trustees has officially begun its search for the university’s next president.

As previously announced, President Eric Barron plans to retire once his contract expires in June 2022. Now, the board has formed a task force to spearhead efforts to find Penn State’s next president.

To get started, the Board of Trustees’ Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee launched a new initiative, titled “Next Gen Penn State,” to guide its efforts and receive feedback and input from the community throughout the university’s search.

“The Next Gen Penn State initiative is a ‘listening phase’ of our process within which stakeholders from varying backgrounds and perspectives will be charged with actively soliciting input from all areas of our community to help inform the selection of Penn State’s next president,” Board of Trustees Chair Matt Schuyler said. “This is a critical step in the overall presidential search process, and it is an indispensable opportunity for community members to be involved. We are asking our community to help inform the Trustees’ Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee in its choice of Penn State’s next leader, and this is a significant charge.”

Next Gen Penn State largely aims to identify the desired qualities and qualifications for Penn State’s next president. This will be done through a university-wide survey, small-group stakeholder meetings, and feedback via a new website.

The information gathered by Next Gen Penn State will inform the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee’s search. Following the end of the month-long Next Gen Penn State process, a report of the input gathered from internal and external stakeholders will be generated and shared with the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee and the community at large.

“With the help and contributions of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and others, the input will make the search process stronger,” Schuyler said. “We encourage our community to engage with us and to express thoughts and recommendations and provide advice regarding the presidential search,” says Schuyler.

Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group

Chaired by Board of Trustees Vice Chair David Kleppinger, the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group is a 47-member committee comprised of a broad cross-section of students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, trustees, and other stakeholders from across the university.

“We are grateful to the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group for its participation and appreciate the members’ time, energy and commitment to this important process,” Kleppinger said.

The advisory group features:

  • Francis Achampong, chancellor of Penn State Mont Alto
  • Kathleen Bieschke, vice provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Squire Booker, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Richard Bundy, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations  
  • Bryan Culler, student trustee  
  • Mark H. Dambly, trustee (co-chair of the Presidential Selection and Recruitment Committee)  
  • Daniel Delligatti, trustee    
  • Valerie Detwiler, trustee
  • Michele Duffy, assistant teaching professor of kinesiology
  • Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor of Penn State Greater Allegheny
  • Robert Fenza, trustee    
  • Ronald Filippelli, State College Borough Mayor
  • James Franklin, head football coach  
  • Mary Frecker, Riess Chair of Engineering
  • Shaun Gabbidon, Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State Harrisburg
  • David Gray, retired senior vice president for Finance and Business/Treasurer
  • Frank Guadagnino, vice president for Administration (executive support)
  • Laura Guay, undergraduate student
  • Laura Guertin, professor of earth and mineral sciences
  • David Han, trustee    
  • Madlyn Hanes, senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses/Executive Chancellor  
  • Marie Hardin, dean of the Bellisario College of Communications
  • Shannon Harvey, director of the Office of the Board of Trustees/Associate Secretary (executive support)
  • Dr. Darrell Kirch, former dean of the Penn State College of Medicine and chief executive officer of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • David Kleppinger, vice chair of the Board of Trustees (advisory group chair)
  • Clarence Lang, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts
  • Lawrence Lokman, vice president for Strategic Communications
  • John Mason, chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg
  • Keith E. Masser, former trustee (Penn State Health representative)
  • Stephen Massini, chief executive officer of Penn State Health
  • Zack Moore, vice president for Government and Community Relations
  • Bhargava Motupalli, undergraduate student (president of the Penn State Harrisburg Student Government Association)
  • Noe Ortega, trustee    
  • Alice Pope, trustee    
  • Julie Anna Potts, trustee (co-chair of the Presidential Selection and Recruitment Committee)       
  • Tracy Riegel, Penn State Alumni Association Alumni Council Executive Board
  • Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Matthew Schuyler, chair of the Board of Trustees 
  • Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs   
  • William Sitzabee, vice president of Facilities Management and Planning/Chief Facilities Officer  
  • Richard Sokolov, chair of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” fundraising campaign (donor representative)
  • Bonj Szczygiel, associate professor of landscape architecture and women’s studies (chair-elect of University Faculty Senate)
  • Nico Terry, graduate student
  • James B. Thomas, Mount Nittany Health Board Member
  • Steven Wagman, trustee    
  • Sean Walsh, undergraduate student
  • Craig Weidemann, retired vice president for Outreach and vice provost for Online Education
  • Lora Weiss, senior vice president for Research  
  • Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity 

Presidential Recruitment And Selection Committee

Following the Next Gen Penn State process, the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee will begin the search for candidates this summer. Trustees Mark H. Dambly and Julie Anna Potts will lead this committee.

Dambly and Potts said they intend to run a rigorous and diligent search process in order to attract a high-quality, diverse and respected pool of candidates that will result in naming an executive with “excellent skills, impeccable integrity, vision, and a strong track record of consensus-building and successfully leading a complex organization.”

The committee features:

  • Abe Amorós, trustee
  • Erin Boas, undergraduate student
  • Kathleen Casey, trustee  
  • Mark H. Dambly (committee co-chair)
  • Barbara Doran, trustee
  • Lorraine Goffe, vice president for Human Resources
  • Frank Guadagnino, vice president for Administration (executive support) 
  • David Han, trustee 
  • Abraham Harpster, trustee 
  • Alex Hartzler, trustee
  • Shannon Harvey, director of the Office of the Board of Trustees/Associate Secretary (executive support) 
  • Randy Houston, president of the Penn State Alumni Association
  • Nina Jablonski, Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology
  • David Kleppinger, vice chair of the Board of Trustees (chair of the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group)
  • Ira Lubert, former trustee (donor representative) 
  • Bill Oldsey, trustee  
  • Julie Anna Potts, trustee (committee co-chair)
  • Walter Rakowich, trustee  
  • Mary Lee Schneider, trustee  
  • Matthew Schuyler, chair of the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees has also engaged the search firm, Spencer Stuart. The firm will participate in the Next Gen Penn State phase, which will inform its work on behalf of the committee.

“We look forward to the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group’s report and the engagement of a broad set of stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff, who have valuable insight into the desired characteristics and qualities of the institution’s next leader,” Dambly said. “We’re pleased that the search firm will be engaged in the listening process and will hear from our community from the outset of this critical effort.”

The Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee has been tasked with recommending final candidates to the Board of Trustees through thorough recruitment and vetting process in order to determine academic, administrative, and business ability, along with other qualities identified.

“We know there will be great interest in this search from faculty, staff, students, alumni and key stakeholders,” Potts said. “In addition to seeking input through the Next Gen Penn State process, we plan to share the report from that listening element with our community, along with continued updates on our process, timeline and other critical pieces of information.” 

To get involved in the Next Gen Penn State process, the community is encouraged to participate in an upcoming survey about the search and to provide feedback at via an anonymous form. Students, faculty, staff, and other community members are encouraged to visit the site for more information and updates.

“By listening and weighing considerations from a wide range of stakeholders, we are seeking specific information on what our community values and believes is needed in a leader who can take our University into the future,” Schuyler said. “We look forward to hearing their thoughts, ideas and recommendations.”

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About the Author

Anna Wiggins

Anna is a senior (ew) public relations major from Alexandria, Virginia, and is Onward State's social media manager. Anna spends her days contemplating what emoji to use in a tweet and dreaming of Doggie's Pub's hot dogs, in that order. Share your song recommendations with her on Twitter @annaewiggins and send your best gossip to her email, [email protected].

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