penn state mark

Penn State Presidential Search

An Invitation to Apply For the Position of
University Park, Pennsylvania

Penn State is one of the leading public research universities in the nation. It enrolls 96,000 students in one university on 24 campuses and online. One in every 120 Americans with a college degree received it from Penn State. It boasts over 600,000 living alumni and an alumni association with 169,000 dues-paying members. It conducts over $800 million per year in research. It employs 44,000 people and has an annual budget in excess of $4 billion. In Pennsylvania, it has a total economic impact of over $17 billion, the largest single effect of any organization in the state. It ranks, in the 2012 world index of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, among the top 50 universities on the planet. In its sheer size, in its impact on Pennsylvania, in its place in the nation, in its transformative effect on student lives, in the power of its research and in its cumulative history, Penn State is formidable.

The University was founded in 1855, when the Commonwealth chartered it as a college of agricultural science. It admitted its first class in 1859. It is located in the heartland of central Pennsylvania, an area of prosperous, well established farms that still endure. The industrialization of agriculture had begun, but the full benefit of the agricultural revolution was still in the future. In 1862, after the Southern secession, with an activist Republican administration and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, the leadership of the College helped to champion the passage of the Morrill land-grant Act. In 1863, the Pennsylvania legislature made the College its official and sole land-grant designee, a role it still proudly carries. Penn State continues to refer to its land-grant mission in its commitment to recruit and admit a diverse student body by increasing avenues of access for individuals within the Commonwealth and beyond.

In the 1880s the College broadened its agricultural curriculum to embrace a larger mission consistent with its land-grant status, and began to teach engineering, the sciences, and the liberal arts. In 1892, Penn State was the first institution in the U.S. to offer correspondence courses for farmers who could not attend college. The College steadily acquired strength and reach, adding cooperative extension in the early 1900s, a role that remained crucial in Pennsylvania’s graduate education in the 1920s; and then additional undergraduate campuses throughout the state in the 1930s. Enrollment grew steadily, accompanied by academic distinction in key engineering and agricultural disciplines. In the 1950s, under President Milton Eisenhower, the College officially became The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).

In 1967, Penn State received a $50 million gift from the Milton S. Hershey Trust to establish a medical school in Hershey, Pennsylvania, about an hour and a half from University Park. Although it was a relatively late start for a major academic medical center, it has proved propitious. It is the only academic medical center within the reach of central Pennsylvania, a population of roughly 4 million. Today the health complex has a total budget of $1.5 billion and consists of a medical school, four hospitals that are owned or operated by Penn State, 17 affiliated hospitals, 63 clinics, and 900 clinicians in one medical group, all joined by a single, electronic medical records system. Revenue has climbed steadily at roughly 8-10% per year for the last several years and net revenue has grown to a remarkable 10.5%, much of which is used for academic re-investment.

In the 1990s, Penn State began development of Innovation Park, a research park that includes a very successful business incubator. This 118-acre business park provides access to Penn State resources and supportive services to transfer knowledge from the University to the marketplace.

In 1997, Penn State joined with the Dickinson School of Law and began the process of developing a single law school on two campuses. It was a crucial addition to the offerings of a great public university. Currently, the dual-campus structure is under review, with a recommendation pending to have two distinct accredited law schools.

From the beginning, the University was privately chartered but it has become, explicitly, “state related,” one of four in Pennsylvania, with a Board that has a mix of public and private trustees. The state has made regular appropriations since 1877 but Pennsylvania has many colleges and universities, both public and private, and state appropriations for public higher education are among the lowest in the country. Like virtually all states, Pennsylvania’s financial support for higher education has steadily declined in recent years. In FY 2013, the state appropriated $272 million (and an additional $7 million of State and Medical Assistance Funds) or 6.4% of the total budget. As a direct result, Penn State, with in-state lower division tuition ranging from $12,000 to $16,000 per year, depending on location, ranks near or at the top of annual tuition costs among public universities.

The University, like all its peers, rode the post WWII boom in enrollment and research. By the early 1970s, it had 48,000 students and ranked 33rd in the U.S. in research expenditure. It was an impressive, large, public research university; a regional powerhouse; and crucial to Pennsylvania.

At a critical moment, in the 1980s, an inspired president and board set the goal of becoming one of the nation’s top 25 universities. It was a commitment to academic excellence and a statement of intention. In retrospect, it was an inflection point.

Development was crucial. The University has an alumni association that was founded in 1870 and always has been large and engaged, by any standard. Today, it is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world. Like most public universities, Penn State once had a very modest endowment and had not traditionally raised gift support. The University purposefully shifted gears. In recent years, it has conducted two major campaigns, a $1.37 billion campaign that closed in 2003 and the current campaign which is scheduled to close in 2014 with a $2 billion goal, which it expects to meet.

In addition to new investment, the University set a goal of annually recycling 1% of total expenditures and investing it in new strategic academic programming. The initiatives were explicitly interdisciplinary. Colleges and institutes collaborated to co-fund new and recycled faculty lines in strategic areas that would strengthen the University and help its push toward national and international eminence. The process of thinking and rethinking, a collective commitment to new interdisciplinary investment, and cross-unit collaboration is now firmly engrained in the faculty and the administration.

The results have been cumulative and dramatic. Over a 40-year period, Penn State went from 33rd in the country to among the top 15 in total research expenditures, depending on the year measured. The pace of growth gathered strength with each passing decade. In the last ten years, total research grew 60% and federal research, now $507 million, grew a remarkable 80%. The results criss-cross the University, as would be expected, in an institution organized to foster and invest across disciplines. Unlike many other great universities Penn State does not delegate most sponsored research to its medical school only. Here, seven colleges and a national lab each have more than $30 million in research activity, with a medical college that is responsible for $100 million.

Research and scholarly improvement were accompanied by an equally impressive growth in student enrollment, matched by pedagogical innovation and student satisfaction. The 6-year graduation rate for University Park is a remarkable 86% and the rate for Commonwealth campuses is 53%, which is still high considering many campuses attract non-traditional age students and those facing a career change. For those students who begin their studies at a Commonwealth Campus and transition to University Park, the 6-year graduation rate is 84%. Growth came at every campus, including University Park, but the distributed Commonwealth campuses and the new on-line World Campus each played crucial roles.

Penn State describes itself as “One university, geographically dispersed.” The 19 Commonwealth campuses are located throughout Pennsylvania to provide multiple points of access for its citizens. While some students may choose to remain at one campus for all four years of a baccalaureate program, the campus structure provides access for students to complete the first two years of study for the University’s 160 baccalaureate majors. Historically, 60% of all undergraduates enroll at a Commonwealth Campus with the intent of completing their degree at another campus. Approximately 5,000 Penn State students change their campus location annually. The majority, 77%, transition from a Commonwealth Campus to the University Park campus after completing 60 credits of work. An increasing number transition to another Commonwealth Campus to complete their program, and about 200 students per year complete their studies by transitioning from the University Park campus or World Campus to a Commonwealth Campus. Most—88%—are Pennsylvania residents. Three quarters of them are traditional age and 40% are first-generation students. Their average family incomes are measurably lower than the state-wide average and 90% receive some form of financial aid. Some 265,000 alumni attended a Commonwealth Campus during their time at Penn State. The multi-campus structure has been an excellent gateway for first generation students. Equally important, for under-represented minorities who make up 20% of the total Commonwealth Campus enrollment, tuition is somewhat lower at most of the Commonwealth Campuses. When combined with the opportunity for many students to live at home, the campuses provide a greater portal for opportunity at a reduced cost to earn a Penn State degree. The campuses provide highly varied programs, tailored to both state and local needs.

Modern Pennsylvania has an aging population and the western part of the state has a declining population. Penn State has adjusted but overall enrollment has plateaued and the University has its greatest enrollment challenges on its Western Commonwealth campuses. University Park, the largest campus, has a very strong national appeal. Fully 40% of its students now come from out of state and pay out-of-state tuition. International students, included in out-of-state enrollment, represent 12% of University Park enrollment. Eighteen percent of the total student population are students of color, reflecting a university commitment to achieve ever improving diversity on all of its campuses.

In 2000, Penn State opened its World Campus, its own entry in distance and electronically aided education. The University was early to adopt distance education, building on its legacy of correspondence courses, and made the rare choice to encourage innovation with online learning across all 24 campuses. Faculty across the University establish courses and many students take one or two World Campus courses during their academic career. Last year 4,500 Penn State residential students took at least one World Campus course. Today, World Campus teaches 12,000 students and it has had double digit growth in each of the last five years, doubling total enrollment in the last four years.

The World Campus, not a physical campus but an educational delivery platform, offers Penn State a robust entry into the world of MOOCs, online learning, distributed and international courses, and hybrid pedagogy. Hundreds of faculty and thousands of students participate in new pedagogical delivery systems through the World Campus.

The program succeeds because the World Campus administration has made a vigorous commitment to academic quality and to student support services, and there is close collaboration between the World Campus and Penn State’s colleges and campuses. Quality, not just price, drives growth. The program has received regular recognition with top 25 rankings and an Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education by the Sloan Consortium. The World Campus is an avenue for testing new vehicles for delivering educational programs across Penn State.

Not unexpectedly, and as a direct result of its sheer purposefulness, Penn State has admirably managed its finances. Its $2 billion endowment, though modest for a school of this size, is a growing element of a robust portfolio that includes total cash and investments of $5.65 billion. As a prudent financial manager, the University maintains operating investments in excess of $2 billion as measured against a debt load of slightly less than $1 billion. The University’s long-term general obligation bonds are currently rated Aa2 and AA by Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) and Standard and Poor’s (S&P), respectively, placing the University among the most highly rated public higher education institutions in the nation.

Penn State has grown its assets in recent years through development but historically it built its finances by achieving a solid, net operating margin. In 2012, the margin was $74 million, or 1.6% of revenue, significantly smaller than in recent years, as a result of sudden drops in state appropriations and special expenses that were unique to that year.

The last 30 years have been a steady, inexorable march upward for Penn State, including a proven record of success in athletics, such as a notable 88% graduation rate for athletes, higher than the 80% graduation rate nationwide for Division I athletes; and a 91% graduation rate for football players. In 2011-12, Penn State was ranked as the top producer of Fulbright scholars; and the Penn State University Libraries rank among the top ten North American Research libraries by the Association of Research Libraries. Penn State ranks in the top 10 in graduates joining Teach for America’s Teaching Corp, and also ranks in the top 10 for producing Peace Corps volunteers.

Penn State has a rich tradition of shared governance. The University Faculty Senate has legislative authority on all matters pertaining to the academic interests of Penn State as well as educational matters that cross faculties in more than one college. The Senate is also clearly recognized as a critical advisory and consultative voice to the President on any matter that may affect the attainment of the University’s educational objectives.

The University has had every reason to be proud. It is proud of its stability, its foresight, its competitive strength and its academic and athletic integrity. Nothing had prepared Penn State for the child sexual abuse crisis but it has not taken away from Penn State being one of higher education’s most remarkable success stories.

When a leadership change became necessary in November 2011, the Board called on the University’s long-term provost, Rodney Erickson, to take charge. He is a deeply respected figure, who was, over his career, the architect of much of the University’s academic improvement. He delayed a planned retirement, rallied the University, and his administration has taken charge of systematically implementing significant reforms. While assuming this leadership under unprecedented circumstances, President Erickson has established a tone that focuses on rebuilding trust and confidence.

In response to the crisis, the Board concluded, with the aid of outside counsel’s investigation, that Penn State needed more rigorous compliance and reporting at both the governance and the administration level. Efforts and changes already undertaken at Penn State have served as models for other higher education institutions, and will lead to Penn State continuing to be one of the very best universities in the world.

As Penn State faces the future, it seeks a president who can call on the University’s historic strength; who can affirm its core commitment to integrity and to academic distinction, nationally and internationally; and who can drive Penn State to its next level of academic success and its emerging, vital story to its own constituents, and to the world.

Penn State remains formidable.

The next president will need to be an active steward of the public interest and have passion for Penn State, an institution that is revered in the Commonwealth and well beyond. The institution is well positioned for the future and the president must be prepared to assess, understand, and lead the institution as it confronts several opportunities and challenges moving forward including:

Propelling Excellence in Instruction, Research and Public Service

Penn State has made outstanding progress in its scholarly and research endeavors over the last few decades. With strong leadership from central administration and the colleges, the University has recruited and retained an excellent faculty, made strategic, competitive investments, and built interdisciplinary collaborations across academic units. To become an even greater university, Penn State needs to strengthen its already impressive efforts to attract and retain exceptional faculty, achieve external recognition for those nationally and internationally prominent faculty, and build even stronger undergraduate and graduate programs. Working closely with faculty, staff, and students, the president will need to outline measurable objectives, including identification of research programs, disciplines, and graduate and undergraduate programs that can achieve international status and, by setting priorities and inspiring confidence, lead the academic enterprise towards those objectives. In the next chapter of these efforts, the president must find the resources and provide the intellectual discipline to:

Broadcasting the excellence of the University and serving as the ambassador for The Pennsylvania State University to ensure its status is recognized locally, as well as nationally, and internationally

It is not enough to excel. It is equally important that state, national, and international leaders recognize Penn State for its leadership in higher education and its contributions to society. The president must deliver the message that the University provides and supports a high-quality education, that it promotes superior basic and applied research in an efficient and effective manner, and that it works with the governmental, corporate, and educational sectors throughout the state, and the nation, to share its knowledge and expertise. It is necessary for the president to develop a strong relationship with, and be a visible representative of, the University to the people of the state. In addition, the president will create strong lines of communication with public and civic bodies, including domestic and international business and professional leaders, the media, and opinion leaders. The president will also establish relationships with national higher education organizations, foundations, corporations, and business organizations that focus on education. In brief, the president is a public citizen who expresses some of the highest aspirations of the University and the state. S/he has a public, civic leadership role to fulfill and is expected to encourage members of the administration and the faculty to be active in their professional societies, on the University campuses, and in the state and nation. The president will work to deliver the message that The Pennsylvania State University is contributing, with excellence, to the future of society.

Managing the conflicts elicited by recent events and building consensus among University constituencies

It is critical that the new president approaches the needs of the entire University community, including alumni, in a restorative manner as efforts move forward from events of, and since, November 2011.

The next president will have the opportunity to unite the University around a common vision of values, principles, ideals, and trust. The University has made great progress toward instituting a new governance and compliance structure but there is still work to be done. It will be important for the president to foster an atmosphere of openness and transparency, and to manage carefully any residual conflict. A new president should enhance the continuing focus of the University on its academic mission and restore trust and pride.

Overseeing the financial and management complexity of a large, multi-campus organization in the twenty-first century

Penn State University is an extraordinarily large institution with a complex administrative span throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While all large public research institutions are complex, the combination of the number of geographical locations, the massive research infrastructure that is supported by external funding, the major Medical Center, and the operation of both a substantial division for on-line delivery of courses and programs as well as the University Park campus which is the size of many small communities; requires the president to oversee an especially large and complex administrative structure. This responsibility includes promoting a culture of responsibility and accountability for the top officers in Old Main, the key administrative building, that cascades to the colleges and campuses, and through leaders in every unit, academic and non-academic, at the University.

Moving forward the president will need to consider and address the fundamental, long-term challenges for higher education. The University will need substantial new efficiencies that will manage, and ideally reduce, a student’s cost to degree, while also identifying the resources to strive for and enhance excellence in all aspects of the University’s mission. In addition, the president must comprehend the impact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on the Medical Center. This will require that the president manage a process ensuring there is collective understanding of the goals of the institution among all its constituencies and succeed in bringing all constituencies together to further those goals.

Addressing the future role of the Commonwealth campuses

The University consists of 24 campuses, including its largest campus at University Park, with 19 campuses and Penn State Great Valley School of Professional Studies falling under the leadership of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses. Almost one-quarter of Penn State’s degrees are conferred at the Commonwealth Campuses and many additional students begin their studies at a Commonwealth Campuses.

In an environment of demographic change and constrained fiscal resources, the Commonwealth Campuses present special challenges. A number of approaches are now under review and include restructuring, re-missioning, and consolidation of academic and non-academic functions. In addition, positioning the Commonwealth Campuses to more fully engage in the ongoing digital revolution and respond to demographic and workforce changes and the needs of nontraditional students, presents an exciting opportunity, both for the World Campus and for the Commonwealth Campuses. Other promising options for the Commonwealth Campuses include a greater sharing of administrative infrastructure to improve service while reducing administrative overhead. More sharing of academic programming among campuses is also possible with more extensive use of learning technologies.

Looking forward, the president must be aware of the contributions and programs at the Campuses. S/he should be visible to the faculty and students, and understand the strengths and contributions that the Campuses make to the institution and the state. There are important decisions to be addressed about the organizational structure and financial capabilities of all campuses. In considering these, the president must be president of the whole university and make decisions that will continue to strengthen the entire institution.

Strengthening relationships with external governments and working with internal governance

The president is a public citizen, who expresses some of the highest aspirations of Pennsylvania. As such s/he has a public, civic leadership role to fulfill and is expected to be visible to the policy leaders in the Commonwealth, particularly to those in state government, including the legislature, but also to the Commonwealth’s Congressional delegation, to local government officials and leaders from the corporate and education sectors who play a role in governmental decisions. The state anticipates its investment in the University will further economic development.

The president will work with legislative and gubernatorial leadership to obtain not only fiscal resources, but also to build trust that Penn State is making the right decisions to prepare the current and future citizens of the state and provide support for Pennsylvania’s economic and cultural well-being. It would benefit Penn State immeasurably for the president to maintain and enhance a strong working relationship with the leadership of other public and private institutions of higher education in the state and to serve as a key voice on issues of importance at both the state and federal level.

The University has developed an exceptional cooperative relationship with the town of State College and other municipalities in the surrounding area. The local leadership is eager to sustain the excellent relationship with the University, to cooperate on the development of physical infrastructure, and to engage with the University in supporting the local economy through cooperative ventures and potential spinoffs from applied research conducted at Penn State.

Given the governance structure of the University there is a direct link between government and governance. Four members of the 32-member Board of Trustees serve in an ex-officio capacity by virtue of their position in the Commonwealth, including the Governor and three cabinet secretaries. Another six members of the Board are appointed by the Governor. In addition to nine alumni representatives, there are another twelve members representing organized agriculture societies and business and industry endeavors. This provides the president with excellent linkages to a wide range of constituent groups that are critical to the state. It is incumbent on the president to keep the Board fully informed about the key actions, interactions, and significant issues related to the University.

Continuing to support and striving to further the culture of giving among University Alumni and friends

The Pennsylvania State University needs its president to embrace philanthropy and to advance a culture of philanthropy, on campus and off, so that every member of the community understands the importance of giving back. The University launched a capital campaign in April 2010 and is well ahead of schedule with a goal of $2 billion to be raised by 2014. Once this campaign has been completed, the president will begin to develop plans for continued advancement for the future, matching the University goals with the available means. The president will work assiduously with the Board in the execution of future philanthropic gifts, engaging major donors personally and growing the development program so that it remains competitive with the finest development programs in the country.


The Search Committee understands that no single candidate will have all the ideal qualifications, but Penn State seeks a President with the following essential qualifications and strengths:


Applications and nominations, including a resume and cover letter, should be sent electronically to:

Michael Baer, Vice President; John Isaacson, President;
or Jackie Mildner, Managing Associate
Isaacson, Miller
1300 19th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: 202-682-1504

Final candidate(s) for the position will be required to complete a full background check process including criminal, child abuse, credit, education, employment, and motor vehicle verifications, as appropriate.

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.


The Pennsylvania State University: An Overview

Penn State Today

The Pennsylvania State University today is a thriving institution with a student body of almost 100,000 students and over 40,000 full- and part-time employees. The University is focused on achieving its land-grant mission of education, research, and service. Penn State is consistently ranked among the very best academic institutions. ARWU has ranked Penn State at 49 in its 2012 ranking of the top 100 world-class universities; the University is one of five Big Ten universities and one of only two Pennsylvania schools to make the top 50. In addition, many disciplines at Penn State rank very high in a variety of academic rankings:

Penn State is home to more than 200 research centers, laboratories and institutes, many of them nationally known interdisciplinary enterprises. Some examples of interdisciplinary research institutes include the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Materials Research Institute, Social Science Research Institute, Institute for Cyber Science, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Examples of defense-related research include the Applied Research Laboratory and the Electro-Optics Center. Penn State recently infused over one million dollars to launch the Penn State Center for the Protection of Children.

A wide array of information about the University is available through its on-line Fact Book, including information on students, faculty and staff, budget and finances, research expenditures, and alumni and development activities:

The Office of the President

The Office of the President encompasses a broad portfolio across the entire university. The organizational chart of the office at the following link gives a perspective of the breadth of influence of the position:

PSU’s Strategic Vision

In late 2007, the University Strategic Planning Council was formed. This group led an extensive strategic planning process and the creation of Priorities for Excellence: The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14. The plan builds on the theme of prioritization for excellence and offers strategies for each of seven goals, including: enhancing student success, advancing academic excellence and research prominence, realizing Penn State’s potential as a global university, maintaining access and affordability and enhancing diversity, serving the people of the Commonwealth and beyond, using technology to expand access and opportunities, and controlling costs and generating additional efficiencies. The full plan and the context for its development can be reviewed at the following URL:

President Rodney Erickson’s update on goals and initiatives can be found here:

The University also benefits from having the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment which supports improvement, planning, and assessment initiatives at the unit and institutional level and promotes the effective and efficient use of resources to maintain and improve institutional quality. This office helps units and teams assess their needs, develop strategic plans, improve key processes, and develop collaborative team environments. It also provides information and data to support University-wide decision-making and works to strengthen the capacity for leadership and innovation. The Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment publishes Innovation Insights to share information about concepts, approaches, and tools in the areas of continuous quality improvement, institutional assessment, and strategic planning:


Undergraduate Experience

Penn State offers more than 160 undergraduate majors. The undergraduate degree programs of the University provide students with opportunities to increase their knowledge and understanding of the world and to grow in their individual skills and capabilities for learning, analyzing, creating, communicating, and forming good judgments. All undergraduate degree programs and courses are under the academic sponsorship of a faculty committed to scholarship. Students can seek out opportunities to conduct research with faculty, adding to their undergraduate educational experience.

Students at Penn State are provided a great deal of flexibility in their educational choices and plan. Undergraduate degree programs are intended to be flexible in accommodating students’ interests, whether through traditional or nontraditional offerings, while enrolled on either a part-time or a full-time basis at one of Penn State's twenty undergraduate campuses throughout the Commonwealth. Each campus offers its own combination of associate and baccalaureate degree programs.

A list of undergraduate degree programs by campus can be found at:

2+2 Plan

Some Penn State students choose to remain at one campus for all four years, while others spend their first two years at one campus and transition to another for the remaining two years. In order to transition between campuses, the only requirement is that the student meets the entrance-to-major requirements for her/his selected major. The 2+2 plan is the most common path to a Penn State degree - about 60% of students opt for this path in a typical year.

Schreyer Honors College

Established in 1997 with a $30 million gift, the Schreyer Honors College expanded honors education at Penn State from simply recruiting excellent students and providing them with enriched learning opportunities, to a comprehensive program preparing students to make an important difference in the world. Over 85% of Schreyer Honors College graduates pursue professional or graduate school within three years. Many students have published prior to graduation, and all have research experience or produced a significant piece of creative work. The dean of the Schreyer Honors College works closely and collaboratively with academic colleges, and the Honors College continues to be a source of pride in attracting outstanding undergraduate students.

Graduate Experience

The Graduate School at Penn State offers over 150 graduate degree programs, including doctorates, and academic and professional master's degrees. The Graduate School also offers a multitude of post-baccalaureate and graduate credit certificates. The University provides a range of programs in medical education, law, executive education as well as continuing education on its campuses and through distance learning. The full range of graduate programs can be accessed at:


Some of the most talented students from across the country and world seek admission to Penn State’s academic programs. In summer and fall 2012 there were 62,891 applications for full time undergraduate admission, with a 19,118 first-year baccalaureate class University-wide (7,994 at University Park). Penn State’s students come from all 50 states and 135 countries, including 6,786 international students (graduate, first professional and undergraduate). Approximately 27% of undergraduate enrollments are out-of-state (36% at Penn State University Park). The student body is divided 54% male and 46% female. Students of color comprise 18% of total enrollment. The average student/faculty ratio is 17:1.

Middle 50 percent GPA & Standardized Test Range*:
High School GPA (4.0 scale)

Combined SAT

Combined ACT

Combined English/Writing ACT

* The ranges listed above represent the middle 50 percent of students offered admission for fall 2012


Enrollment by degree program:


Students choose Penn State for the opportunity to work with faculty members who are among the world’s top researchers and scholars, and devoted to building an academic community where every student can flourish. There are almost 6,000 full-time and almost 2,000 part-time faculty members at Penn State. Of the full-time faculty, almost 52% are either tenured or on the tenure track.

The excellence of Penn State’s faculty has been recognized by major learned societies and award committees. Three Penn State faculty members from the College of the Liberal Arts were awarded Guggenheim Fellowships for 2012. The University is consistently recognized as a top producer of student, faculty, and staff Fulbright grantees among research institutions, and in 2011-2012 led the nation in the number of Fulbright faculty scholars.

Interdisciplinary and cross-college research, communication, and collaboration is encouraged. While there are many such examples, the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being builds upon the University’s excellence in research, practice, education, and outreach on children, youth, and families; with the mission to conduct cutting-edge research on child maltreatment and approaches to prevention, detection, and treatment; and promoting dissemination of research-based knowledge in clinical practice, education and outreach. This effort supports translational research to bridge science and practice and capitalizes on the University’s infrastructure to support this critical societal effort. Endowed faculty positions and graduate student support allow Penn State to recruit and retain the very best teachers and scholars, integrate discovery and education, and ensure an extraordinary educational experience at all of its campuses. At present the University is able to support nine percent of its faculty in endowed positions and is seeking to expand the number of named chairs.

More information about faculty location, numbers, tenure status and rank can be found at:

The University Faculty Senate is part of the governance structure of the institution. It represents all faculty at Penn State through the process of shared governance. Its faculty members are elected by each college and each campus proportionate to their numbers. Undergraduate and graduate students are also represented on the Senate, as are University administrators. The Senate has legislative authority on all matters pertaining to the educational interests of the University and all educational matters that concern the faculties of more than one college. In addition, the Senate is recognized by the University as an advisory and consultative body to the President on all matters that may affect the attainment of the University's educational objectives. One can learn more about the Senate at:


An equally dedicated staff of over 11,000 full-time administrators, managers, professional, technical, administrative, craft, and maintenance people make Penn State work. Their warmth, their high standards, and their passion and dedication to the University are immediately evident. They are respected and valued colleagues, core members of the University community. These are the people who often serve as the go-to for students seeking assistance.


Nationwide, Penn State rates among the top 100 higher education institutions in African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American undergraduate degree producers. Much of Penn State’s work to create a climate of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the University’s faculty, staff, leadership, and student body is led by the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, which reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost. This office’s efforts include strategic planning for diversity, the President’s commissions for equity, student success programs for underrepresented/underserved students, and support of educational access for targeted groups of low-income, potential first-generation college students both at Penn State and at sites throughout the state, and serving as a catalyst and advocate for Penn State’s diversity initiatives by providing University-wide leadership to increase capacity for diversity. Penn State is among the national leaders in higher education in diversity strategic planning. The current five-year plan, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 2010–15, is underway. Diversity strategic planning will soon be merged into Penn State’s overall strategic planning process.


Penn State is a research university of great accomplishment, by any measure nationally and globally, with a faculty of high distinction that contributes enormously to the body of knowledge and creativity for social and economic betterment. A recent National Research Council ranking of doctoral programs placed Penn State at or near the top in more than two dozen fields. The University operates a research enterprise of over $800 million per year that stretches across college, discipline, and instructional lines, and integrates both undergraduate and graduate students with faculty.

Its standing as a major research institution is a critically important reason that students, both graduate and undergraduate, choose to study at Penn State. The translation of research and knowledge to the public is the basis for most of the outreach services the University provides. Few institutions have integrated education, public service, and world-class research as successfully as Penn State.

2011 - 2012 Organized Research by Fund Source
Sponsored Federal $498,730,000
State Contracts $28,096,000
Industry, Private, and Other University $110,123,000
Federal Appropriation (Ag) $8,698,000
State Appropriation $36,237,000
University Funds $125,618,000
Total $807,502,000

Student Activities and Athletics

Penn State has a tradition of strength in athletics, and offers over 1,200 student clubs and organizations. The Intercollegiate Athletics program at Penn State includes thirty-one Division I varsity athletic teams.

Penn State provides a multitude of student activities and sports: student government organizations, musical groups, publications and communications organizations, performing arts organizations, nationality and diversity organizations, clubs formed around academic interests, religious and spiritual organizations, and dozens of special-interest groups, Additional athletic opportunities are available at the campuses through participation in NCAA Division III competition, and Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) athletics, club sports, and intramural teams provide for a variety of sports opportunities.

Service is an important component of the Penn State culture and many students are active in volunteer activities. The University ranked first in the nation in student run philanthropy: The 2013 Dance Marathon raised $12.37 million for children with cancer. “THON” was featured in the documentary, “Why We Dance: The Story of THON” which premiered this fall on WPSU-TV and can be found online at:


Penn State’s largest campus is located at University Park, which is also the administrative hub of the University and home for 12 academic units that each fall under the leadership of a dean: Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Architecture, Business, Communications, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Education, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Information Sciences and Technology, Liberal Arts, Nursing, and Science. Nineteen campuses, as well as Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, fall under the leadership of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses: Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Berks, Brandywine, DuBois, Erie, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Shenango, Wilkes-Barre, Worthington Scranton and York. Five of these campuses (Abington, Altoona, Berks, Erie and Harrisburg) have stand-alone college status, with the remaining 14 comprising the University College. In addition, the University also has four campuses with unique, professional education missions: Penn State Great Valley supports the needs of working adults through graduate professional studies; located in Williamsport, the Pennsylvania College of Technology (an affiliate of Penn State) offers certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degree studies with a strong focus on technology; the College of Medicine at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (located in Hershey) delivers medical education; and, Penn State Law (with a dual-campus arrangement at University Park and Carlisle) focuses on legal education. Penn State’s World Campus, launched in 1998, now provides distance education programs to students in all 50 states, more than 40 countries, and on all 7 continents.

For a map showing all campuses, see:

The University Park campus, where the President will be located, is home to a diverse student body of almost 40,000 undergraduate and over 6,000 graduate students. University Park is located in the small city of State College, a quintessential college town with its small eateries and quirky shops that line the street marking the border between downtown and campus. Nestled near the base of Mount Nittany, the surrounding area of central Pennsylvania is known as "Happy Valley." A virtual tour of the University Park campus can be found at


One in every 120 Americans with a college degree is a Penn State graduate. The University boasts over 600,000 alumni, many of whom are active in the alumni association. Founded in 1870, the Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying organization of its kind in the world with over 169,000 members. The mission of the Alumni Association is to connect alumni to the University and to each other, to provide valued services to members, and to support the University's mission of teaching, research, and service. The Alumni Association organizes events that bring alumni together including a diverse array of educational and cultural programs, pep rallies, reunions and homecoming activities. Information about the Alumni Association can be found at


Penn State has a strong history of successfully seeking philanthropic investments to support the University’s work. In 1984, President Bryce Jordan launched a six-year effort that raised $352 million in private gifts to the University. This initiative enabled Penn State to attract world-class teachers and researchers, and assist thousands of financially needy and academically talented students. The Grand Destiny campaign (1996-2003) raised $1.37 billion, further strengthening academic programs and broadening the University's service to the Commonwealth and beyond.

The University is committed to ensuring that students are able to afford a Penn State education and are able to pursue their desired careers after graduation without the weight of heavy student debt. With this in mind, student need and merit scholarships are the University’s top priority in the current campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. More information on this campaign and current development activities can be found at:


The Board of Trustees is the corporate body established by the charter with complete responsibility for the government and welfare of the University and all the interests pertaining to students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Board also assists the President in the development of effective relationships between the University and the various agencies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation which provide to the University assistance and direction.

The size and composition of the Board has not changed since 1951. The names of trustees currently serving on the Board, and their bios, can be found in the Membership List and Biographical Information. The terms of all regularly elected or appointed trustees begin on July 1 of the year of election or appointment. Trustees serve for three-year terms.

Penn State's 32-member Board is composed of the following: Five trustees serve in an ex officio capacity by virtue of their position within the University or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They are the President of the University; the Governor of the Commonwealth; and the state secretaries of the departments of Agriculture; Education; and Conservation and Natural Resources. Six trustees are appointed by the Governor; nine trustees are elected by the alumni; six are elected by organized agricultural societies within the Commonwealth; and six are elected by the Board of Trustees representing business and industry endeavors. More information on the Board can be found at


Penn State General Funds Budget

University Budget

Penn State is in a strong financial position despite, like most public universities, operating in a struggling state economy. State support for the university has declined over several decades from more than 60 percent to about 14 percent of the general fund budget. For 2012-13, tuition and fee income comprised nearly 79% of the general funds budget. This, as in most states, is in stark contrast to state appropriation in 1970, when the Commonwealth provided 62% of Penn State’s general funds while tuition and fees were 32%.

Every component of Penn State’s finances and operating budget will require attention to ensure the University thrives. What makes the future optimistic is the university’s strong reputation as a nationally ranked research institution, the long-term prior careful management of University resources, the potential for growth in the medical enterprise, in research, and on-line learning and its very strong connections with donors who are a passionate part of a community that strives for excellence in the institution that has proven itself to have a stable fiscal structure.

In keeping with its mission as a state public land-grant institution, Penn State would like to keep tuition increases to a minimum to allow access to students from all aspects of the Commonwealth’s residents. Currently the University has resident tuition charges among the highest for public institutions in the nation. Looking forward the University will examine opportunities for cost containment, setting priorities, and identifying other revenue sources.

At the same time, the state is facing a decline in the number of high school graduates. Penn State has to be strategic in its approach to attracting an increased number of students from other states as well as from abroad.

In the face of these challenges, the response of the Penn State community has been to reaffirm its commitment to excellence and to embark on a process that will enhance the University’s capacity to make difficult but necessary and informed decisions.

Penn State’s total operating budget for 2012–13 is nearly $4.3 billion. Penn State’s general funds budget of $1.7 billion supports the core of the academic enterprise. Slightly less than one-third of the total budget funds the Hospital and Clinical Operations at the Hershey Medical Center. Restricted Funds, which include grants and contracts from private sources, represent 16% of the budget. The remaining budget includes funds for Auxiliary Enterprises and Agricultural Federal Funds. Penn State’s 2012 -13 state appropriation is approximately $272 million.

2013-13 Total Operating Budget and General Funds Budget

Current annual University budget:

Most recent audited financial statement:

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

Penn State's tuition rates vary by campus, student level, program, and residency. Specific information on tuition rates and fees can be found at:

To cover costs, most Penn State students and their families use financial strategies that include student and parent loans, grants, student employment, and scholarships. Penn State is committed to building its resources and endowments to offer scholarship opportunities to students who excel. Approximately 21% (16,958) of undergraduate students (79,815) receive a Penn State scholarship. Across Penn State's 20 undergraduate campuses, approximately 4,100 first-year students receive a University scholarship. Thirty-eight percent of first-year scholarship recipients are at University Park; the remaining 62% at Penn State campuses. Both Pennsylvania and non-Pennsylvania residents receive equal consideration. Total aid awarded to undergraduate students (excludes stipends) is $943,406,894.

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Established in 1967, Hershey serves as a college of medicine and teaching hospital. Income from patient care comprised 30% of the Penn State’s operating budget in 2012–131. Patient care revenues are dedicated to activities that occur at Hershey Medical Center and are not part of the general funds budget that supports the core of the University’s teaching, research and outreach efforts. Research funding at Hershey is $98.7 million. As with other medical centers, the Medical Center’s budget may be impacted in the future by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as changes in Medicare and Medicaid.

1 Penn State’s Budget Primer,, retrieved January 16, 2013.