Harrisburg -Dr. Karen M. Whitney, vice chancellor for student life and dean of students at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), has been selected to serve as the next president of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1.
She will succeed retiring Dr. Joseph P. Grunenwald, who served the university in various positions for more than 30 years, including the last seven as president.
"We are excited to have Karen Whitney agree to join us as Clarion's 16th president," said Grunenwald. "She possesses the skills, work ethic, and personal commitment to Clarion's momentum and to reach even higher levels in the future."
The appointment was made Thursday morning in a special meeting of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors meeting. Interim appointments of presidents at IUP and Lock Haven University were also announced.
"We have chosen an excellent individual to join our presidential leadership team," said PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) Board of Governors Chairman Kenneth M. Jarin. "These are challenging times for PASSHE and for all of our universities. I am confident the strong leadership in place will allow us to successfully meet all of the challenges we face as we strive to continually enhance the quality of education our students receive."
"Dr. Whitney has had an extraordinary academic career, and I am certain she will contribute significantly to PASSHE's leadership team," added PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh.
“We are very pleased with the appointment of Dr. Whitney as Clarion University's next president,” said Council of Trustees Chair Lee James. “Given her distinguished career and exceptional leadership in public higher education, she will serve the university very well. I am grateful to everyone who contributed to this very important decision.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be given the opportunity to serve the Commonwealth, the northwest region and Clarion University.” Dr. Whitney said. “I look forward to building on the history of accomplishments that define Clarion.”
Dr. Whitney has served as vice chancellor and dean of students at the 30,000-student IUPUI since 1999. Previously she was associate vice president for student life at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She began her academic career as an instructor at the University of Houston in 1980.
Dr. Whitney earned both a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Houston and a doctoral degree in higher educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
In her current position, Dr. Whitney is directly responsible for 12 departments and a $12 million budget. Her responsibilities include institutional strategic finance and planning, policy development and budget oversight. She works closely with community organizations and civic leaders on behalf of the university and has helped lead two capital campaigns.
Dr. Whitney is affiliated with several professional organizations, including the Association of College and University Housing Officers International and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. She has published numerous academic papers and has presented at a variety of professional conferences.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with nearly 117,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Approximately 454,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.