Trustee Peetz gives update on Penn State presidential search

May 03, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Input from multiple stakeholders has created “an important foundational step” in Penn State’s search for a new leader, according to Karen Peetz, chairwoman of the Trustee Presidential Selection Council.

Peetz provided an update today (May 3) during a meeting of the University Board of Trustees. Current President Rodney Erickson has announced that he will retire no later than June 30, 2014. She said there's a pool of more than 300 candidates and expects the trustees to vote on Penn State's new leader in November.

“Facilitated discussions have been held with a wide range of stakeholders,” Peetz said, “including the University’s equity commissions, Student Leaders Roundtable, Faculty Senate leadership, Council of Campus Chancellors, Staff Advisory Council and the Executive Board of the Alumni Association to name just a few.”

In addition to Peetz and 12 others on the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, the search process also includes an 18-member University Presidential Search and Screen Committee. Interaction among members of the two groups has been “very healthy and informative,” according to Peetz.
“A subset of each group will participate in deliberations of the other group,” she said. “This permeability will allow for a more unified approach that will be more inclusive of the broader University community than has ever happened in past presidential searches.”

The University has hired executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist with the process of finding a new leader. The firm organized five forums – three at University Park and one each at Penn State’s Berks and Beaver campuses – where members of the University community shared feedback on the search in late March and early April.

“Information gathered from these discussions provided important information that was used by our search consultant, Isaacson, Miller, in developing a position profile that will provide contextual information as they reach out to potential candidates,” Peetz said.

During a joint meeting one day earlier, members of both groups received a report to aid with the search and introduce candidates to the University. The 18-page “A Vision for Penn State: A Report of the Blue and White Vision Council” offers an overview of the University -- its history, markers of achievement, academic configuration, governance and decision making structure – and explores the challenges, opportunities and strategies in the years ahead. The Blue and White Vision Council, comprised of Peetz and other trustees along with academic and administrative leaders and students, created this document to chart Penn State’s future. 

Peetz called the report, along with Isaacson, Miller’s position profile, “important guiding documents in the search effort.”

The University also is gathering input through a presidential search website, which provides details on the individuals guiding the search as well as a history of the presidency. Since launching in March, the site has attracted nearly 1,500 visitors from countries including the United States, China, India and Canada.

“The site will continue to change as the process moves forward,” Peetz said, “and I would encourage those interested to check back regularly to keep up to date on the search.”

Through the site, additional input and confidential nominations are being accepted at Questions about the process can be directed to

Additional news about the presidential search process is available at

Last Updated October 13, 2013