Budget officer Curley to retire after 41 years at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- He knows it sounds cliché, but after more than four decades working at Penn State, University Budget Officer Steve Curley is certain that it's the people he will miss most when he retires at the end of December.

"Everybody says that, but that's what it's going to be," Curley said. " We have an outstanding staff here in the budget office, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. We also have a very good senior leadership team, deans and chancellors whom I've had a chance to work with over a long period of time."

Curley will leave Penn State after 41 years, having first joined the staff of the controller's office in 1970, shortly after graduating from the University with a degree in business administration.

"Penn State has been very fortunate to have Steve spend his entire career here," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "His work has played an important role in the University's growth during the past 40 years, and his knowledge, leadership and dedication have helped Penn State manage difficult state and national economic downturns. Through the past five years in the budget office, and for many years before that, he has led with great skill and integrity."

After three years in the controller's office, Curley moved on to become financial officer for the College of Business Administration and in 1976 became financial officer for the provost's office, where he worked for the next 30 years. While in the executive vice president and provost's office, Curley worked with senior leadership on a wide array of growing and evolving issues related to budget and financial operations across the University.

In 2006, Curley was appointed university budget officer, where he has overseen a staff responsible for developing, implementing and controlling Penn State's annual operating budget, with an office including sections for budget, information resources and network services.

"I've enjoyed being involved in developing the University's budget and putting together the best program we can to make things work as effectively as possible," Curley said. "It's difficult to go through the funding cuts that have taken place over the last few years in particular, because they affect people's lives. One of the most challenging things we've faced is to continually explain the benefits Penn State provides to the people of Pennsylvania and beyond. Living and working here, you think it's self-evident."

At times his work could be challenging, not to mention complex, but also rewarding. He said he feels fortunate to have spent his career in the unusual position of seeing how the entire University runs and how its many pieces fit together.

He also has been proud to see how the University has grown while remaining true to its values.

"During the time I've been here, Penn State really has transitioned to an international university, and it's grown tremendously in both size and quality," he said. "Through all those years, I think we've always stood for trying to do things the right way and to provide a quality education for our students while excelling in our research and outreach."

In retirement, Curley and his wife, Judi, are looking forward to spending more time with their family: son Greg and his wife Jen, and son Kevin and his wife Allison and their three children, Caroline, Nathaniel and Gabriel.

Rachel Smith will succeed Curley as University budget officer. She will begin working alongside Curley on Oct. 1 to ensure a smooth transition and assume the position as budget officer on Jan. 1.

Smith has served at the University for more than 30 years in various and increasingly responsible roles within Penn State's Finance and Business. For the past five years, she has been financial officer and special assistant to the executive vice president and provost.

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Last Updated October 04, 2011