Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn Hanes to retire Aug. 1

May 18, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Madlyn Hanes, senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor, has announced that she will retire from Penn State on Aug. 1 after a 33-year career at the University.

Hanes has served as the academic and administrative leader of Penn State’s 20 Commonwealth Campuses since 2010. In this role, Hanes provides oversight of the campuses’ academic and administrative programs and operations, including strategic and facilities planning, student recruitment and retention, curriculum development and integration, and the selection of campus chancellors. Hanes is the budget executive for the Commonwealth Campuses, and she serves as dean of the 14 campuses of the University College and the Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies.

Headshot photo of Madlyn Hanes, Penn State senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor

Madlyn Hanes, senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor, will retire on Aug. 1 after 33 years at Penn State. 

IMAGE: Penn State

A national search will begin immediately to identify Hanes’ successor. 

“The Commonwealth Campuses are critical to Penn State’s land-grant mission to serve the educational needs of Pennsylvanians, and they play a vital role in the economic strength of the communities they serve,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Under Madlyn’s leadership, our Commonwealth Campuses have expanded their four-year degree programs, developed and implemented successful innovation hubs that are advancing entrepreneurship and generating economic activity in communities across the state, and continued to deliver an exceptional educational experience close to home for a large and diverse student body. While Madlyn’s leadership will be hard to match, I am thrilled for her and wish her the very best in this next stage in her life.”

The Commonwealth Campuses enroll approximately 27,000 students in associate, baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. Penn State Commonwealth Campuses include: Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Behrend, Berks, Brandywine, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Great Valley, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, Wilkes-Barre and York. 

With 96% of Pennsylvanians living within 30 miles of a Penn State location, Hanes said that Penn State’s Commonwealth Campus structure is unique in higher education, allowing thousands of Pennsylvania students to obtain a world-class education while studying in their home community. 

“Regardless of their size and scale, our campuses are regional assets; they are major education providers, cultural centers and employers, adding to the economic well-being and educational attainment of the regions they serve,” Hanes said. 

More than 50% of students begin their Penn State experience at a Commonwealth Campus, and while many students remain at one campus for all four years, students can complete the first two years of more than 275 majors at a Commonwealth Campus through the University’s 2+2 Plan before transitioning to University Park or another campus to complete their degree. Commonwealth Campuses enroll nearly 40% of Penn State’s total residential student body and, as examples of the valuable role the campuses play in Penn State’s land-grant mission, more than 80% of Commonwealth Campus students are Pennsylvania residents and 40% are the first in their family to attend college.   

“At every commencement I am reminded of the transformative value of higher education — of a Penn State education — for our students and their families,” said Hanes. “Their graduation is a personal triumph I happily share with the faculty and staff who taught and mentored our students throughout their journey. This is especially true for our first-generation college students; their graduation is particularly meaningful to me. I, too, was a first-generation college student, the first in my family to go to college.” 

During Hanes’ tenure, the Commonwealth Campuses added a significant number of high-demand academic programs to meet student and regional career needs, substantially increased institutional aid, differentiated tuition to reflect the demographic circumstances of local regions and the resource needs of students, and developed institutional partnerships to increase admissions access. 

“In every position I have held, I have had the fortune of working with many talented colleagues — I will miss those daily connections the most in retirement.” 

— Madlyn Hanes, senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor

According to Hanes, “Our Commonwealth Campuses discovered the benefits of broad collaboration and experimentation and are stronger for it. As a natural part of our strategic planning, we share programs and talent across campuses. We experiment with strategies designed to increase student success and optimize enrollment and retention. We invest in our research, technology and facilities infrastructure. We have much to show for our collective good work. We have a distance to go and a blueprint to get there.”

“Our campuses are well positioned to meet students’ needs today and into the future in large part because of Madlyn’s exemplary leadership,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “As a former campus chancellor herself, she has been able to bring that personal experience and knowledge to her role as senior vice president and use it to advance the infrastructure, academic offerings and resources of our campuses. Her keen insights and steady presence will be missed, and she leaves Penn State with a proud legacy of service.” 

Hanes arrived at Penn State in 1988 as chief academic officer of Penn State Delaware County, now Penn State Brandywine. In 1997, Hanes was named Penn State Great Valley’s chief executive officer, becoming the founding head of its School of Graduate Professional Studies in 1998, and from 2000 to 2010 she served as chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College. Hanes also chaired the Presidential Commission for Undergraduate Education from 1992 to 1995 under former Penn State President Joab Thomas.

“I have had the privilege of serving this University in many leadership roles over the course of my Penn State career,” Hanes said. “Regardless of the position, I have always enjoyed interacting with the members of campus and broader communities. In my current role, working closely with the University Faculty Senate, the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, and campus advisory and alumni groups has been especially rewarding. 

“In every position I have held, I have had the fortune of working with many talented colleagues — I will miss those daily connections the most in retirement.” 

Hanes, who holds the rank of professor of education, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English education, a master of arts degree in speech-language pathology, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with a specialization in language and literacy development, all from the University of Florida. She also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology from the Professional Services Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In 2008, the University of Florida honored Hanes with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. 

Hanes has served as a consultant to ministries of education and boards of higher education in Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Israel, and Korea, and she was appointed to the University Council of Jamaica by the country’s prime minister. She served as a Policy Fellow in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement and as a senior adviser to the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, where she oversaw the management review of its 34 institutions in conjunction with the governor’s policy office. She is past chair and a current member of the women’s network executive council of the American Council on Education (ACE), and she co-chaired the council’s “Moving the Needle: Advancing Women in Higher Education Administration” initiative. She also served on the board of directors and as vice chair of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Her honors and awards include the Athena Leadership Award for professional excellence, community service, and actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. She also received the Betty Landman Award for Advancement of Women from the Pennsylvania ACE State Network; the Visionary of the Year Award from the Great Valley Chamber of Commerce; the Administrative Excellence Award from Penn State; and the Donna Shavlik Award for Advancing Women in Higher Education from ACE.

Hanes’ scholarship includes numerous papers, talks and sponsored work in psycholinguistics, language and literacy acquisition, and clinical practice. She speaks widely on organizational leadership and is an advocate for advancing women to senior positions in organizations and governing boards.

Last Updated May 20, 2021