UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State’s Trustee Presidential Selection Council is proceeding with vigor in the search for the University’s 18th president. The entire Board of Trustees is dedicated to finding the best leader to take Penn State into the future, and affirmed its commitment to selecting the strongest possible candidate “for one of America’s premier universities.”
“The search process is progressing and will continue until the best possible person to lead Penn State is selected and presented to the full board for a vote,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Masser. “We fully expect that our efforts will ensure we attract a president who can truly maximize the potential of our exceptional University. We plan to conclude this process before the end of President Rodney Erickson’s term in office, which is June 30, 2014.”
In a Nov. 1 trustee seminar and executive session, the full board received an update on the search. The scheduled public meeting was cancelled when it was determined that more time for consideration of possible candidates was needed.
Masser, who also is a member of the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, underscored the continued need for confidentiality in a process where some candidates may be sitting presidents at other universities, chief executives in other organizations, or governmental officials. Because of the need to protect and preserve the current careers of highly desirable candidates, there will be no public presentation or posting of a short list of potential candidates.
“It has been shown repeatedly that a confidential search process for an executive position attracts the best and most qualified and extraordinary candidates. It is a protective measure for the candidates themselves and allows the University to attract the highest caliber of candidates,” Masser said. “The University is on an upward trajectory as evidenced by the gains in our rankings, our continuing strong enrollment, significant and increasing donor support, and the growing demand for our graduates by business, industry and government.”
Karen Peetz, chair of the Selection Council, said to date, the process has been as inclusive as possible. That inclusiveness, she said, is reflected in the broad representation on the University Presidential Search and Screen Committee, which is composed of a diverse cross-section of individuals and chaired by the dean of the College of Health and Human Development, Nan Crouter. Other groups represented on the committee include academic
leadership, the Commonwealth Campuses, graduate students, undergraduate students, staff and alumni. Katie Smarilli (2012-2013 president of the Alumni Association), and David Han (2008-2009 president of the Alumni Association) are both members of the search and screen committee. In addition, the majority of the Trustees on the Trustee Presidential Selection Council are Penn State alumni.
There also have been numerous opportunities for the University community to provide input into the process through town hall meetings at both University Park and several campuses. In addition, the Blue and White Vision Council allowed for significant input from many segments of the University. The council identified key strategic challenges and opportunities facing the University in the coming years.
The search for the 18th President of Penn State is attracting a large pool of strong candidates, according to Peetz. The executive search firm Isaacson, Miller so far has contacted nearly 400 individuals regarding the position as well as tapped into another 150 who were asked to suggest individuals who might be available for the position.