Search firm looks for Penn State’s next AVP for Police and Public Safety

November 19, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – An executive search firm specializing in higher education is aiding Penn State in finding an assistant vice president for Police and Public Safety.

The assistant vice president position provides vision, leadership and management of a comprehensive police and public safety organization that strives to maintain a safe and secure environment for the University’s multi-campus communities.

The Spelman & Johnson Group (, of Easthampton, Massachusetts, is conducting a national search for Penn State’s next police leader and began reviewing applications Nov. 13. A search committee headed by Gail Hurley, associate vice president, Auxiliary and Business Services, will meet in early December to review the pool of candidates presented by the search firm. The goal is to pare down the pool to a few high-quality finalists that will be brought to campus for interviews. The on-campus interviews will span approximately two days for each candidate with a wide variety of offices and constituencies included in the process. 

“We are relying on the expertise of Spelman & Johnson to identify high-quality candidates from across the country for this important position,” said David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. “Penn State has outstanding men and women in our Police and Public Safety unit and they deserve the most qualified leader that can be identified. We are looking for a person with strong qualifications and a skill set that matches our needs as a community.”

The position reports to Gray and oversees approximately 150 employees and manages an annual operating budget of $6.8 million.

In July Timothy Mercer, who was serving as interim assistant vice president, resigned because extension of his employment with the University would interfere with his retirement annuity through the State Employees' Retirement System. ( University Police Chief Tyrone Parham is currently serving as the acting assistant vice president.

The job description is available at

Last Updated November 20, 2015