Penn State launches search for University’s 19th president

July 06, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This month, Penn State is launching a national search for the University’s 19th president after a phased listening process in which students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and other community members provided feedback on the desired qualities and characteristics of the University’s next leader.

To kick off the search, the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee and executive search firm Spencer Stuart have developed a leadership profile — based on findings shared in the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group Report — outlining the qualities, experiences, challenges and opportunities for successful candidates.

“Penn State is a leader in higher education ranking among the top universities in the world with a vibrant community of talented students, faculty, staff and alumni spanning the Commonwealth and world,” said Matt Schuyler, chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees. “We are seeking a collaborative leader with interdisciplinary perspective to continue to move the University’s teaching, research and public service mission forward. The ideal candidate will be dedicated to supporting student success and faculty and staff achievement, while continuing to build on our commitment to access and affordability, elevating our research profile, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across our campus communities.”

The leadership profile will help guide the upcoming search process, which will be led by the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee, a 19-member group co-chaired by Trustees Mark H. Dambly* and Julie Anna Potts with student, faculty and staff representatives.

With the assistance of Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm with a leading practice in education and nonprofit presidential transitions, the committee will begin the search this month with the goal to recommend top finalist(s) to the Board of Trustees following a thorough recruitment and vetting process.

To keep the community up to date over the coming months, the University has launched a webpage on the Board of Trustees website featuring the leadership profile and information about how to submit candidate nominations. Additional updates will continue to be shared in Penn State News.

Attracting and actively seeking a diverse pool of outstanding candidates — with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of professional experiences — is a critical priority to the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee, according to Potts and Dambly.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and other stakeholders are encouraged to nominate qualified candidates. All nominations will remain strictly confidential, and nominations will not be attributed to the nominator.

To nominate a candidate or inquire about the application process, individuals should email with the following information:

  • Name of nominee.
  • Nominee contact information.
  • A brief introduction, including the nominee’s qualifications and background.

Along with collecting nominations, Spencer Stuart will advertise the position across a variety of higher education and career platforms and conduct significant outreach to a range of prospects who align with the position specification.

Penn State community members can contact the Board of Trustees at or Spencer Stuart at with additional questions and input.

*Editor’s note: David Kleppinger, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, has assumed the role of co-chair of the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee following 10 months of service by Trustee Mark H. Dambly, who stepped down from the committee for personal reasons.

Last Updated October 07, 2021