Penn State names new executive director for Undergraduate Admissions

August 27, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has appointed Robert G. Springall as the new assistant vice president for Undergraduate Education and executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, effective Oct. 1.

“Penn State is deeply fortunate to welcome Rob Springall to our leadership team,” said Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education, whose office oversees Undergraduate Admissions. “Rob’s extensive and varied experience will be a great asset to Penn State as we strive to attract a highly qualified and diverse student body to the University. Rob has a broadly informed understanding of recruitment and admissions on a state, national and global scale.”

Springall brings nearly three decades of leadership experience in higher education to Penn State, most recently serving as vice president for enrollment management at Muhlenberg College, a nationally ranked liberal arts institution in Allentown. Serving in that role since 2017, Springall expanded the college’s international recruitment along with outreach to students in the western and southeastern U.S., developed and implemented strategies for enhanced marketing and communications, and assisted in the optimization of financial aid programs for first-year students.

Springall was attracted to Penn State by the University’s land-grant mission and broad impact on students and families in Pennsylvania and around the globe.

“I was drawn to this role because of the opportunity to have large-scale impact at a pivotal time for higher education,” said Springall. “Working at Cornell and UVM, I developed great admiration for the power of land-grant universities to effect positive change for their students and their states’ citizens. Penn State is exceptionally well positioned to continue to do that for its students, Pennsylvania and the world.”

Springall began his career as an admissions counselor at Rochester Institute of Technology and subsequently rose through the enrollment management ranks with appointments at the University of Vermont (1996-1997) and Cornell University’s College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (1997-2004).

Springall built his experience further as associate director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Central Florida (2004-2009), where he grew enrollment in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management (the primary focus of his position) by 280% and increased new student diversity in the college by 50%.

He then served as dean of admissions at Bucknell University in Lewisburg (2009-2017). Under his leadership, the admissions team enrolled eight consecutive first-year classes within 1% of overall target, increased cultural and global diversity, and expanded the first-year application pool by more than 30%.

In his new position, Springall looks forward to partnering with his new colleagues to drive enrollment success across the entire University.

“I am most looking forward to helping Penn State envision what enrollment success looks like, on every campus and in every college, in alignment with the University’s mission and demographic changes happening in Pennsylvania and beyond,” he said. “It is also high on my priority list to engage my admissions colleagues across the University to continue to innovate and to help them develop and thrive as well.”

Springall has also been involved in activities to serve higher education more broadly. He served as a member of the board of directors of The Common Application, one of the most visible organizations in college admissions, from 2014 to 2019, and as chair of the board from July 2017 to June 2018.

Springall holds a bachelor of science in computer science with a minor in business from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master of education in student personnel services from the University of South Carolina.

Having previously lived in central Pennsylvania when he worked at Bucknell University, Springall said that he looks forward to returning to the area with his wife, Karen, and joining the ranks of Penn Staters cheering on the Nittany Lions, particularly the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, once it is safe to do so.

Undergraduate Admissions is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated August 27, 2020