Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

About Us 


Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education was established by statute on July 1, 1983, although the 14 universities that comprise the State System have a much longer history dating back to the 19th century. In fact, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was established more than 175 years ago, and boasts the honor of being the oldest Historically Black College/University in the nation. The “youngest” of the State System universities, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, was founded in 1893.

Today, the State System serves about 105,000 students, making it the largest provider of higher education in Pennsylvania. It also employs more than 12,000 faculty and staff, making it one of the largest employers in the Commonwealth.


Board of Governors

A 20-member Board of Governors is responsible for oversight of the State System. The Board establishes broad educational, fiscal, and personnel policies. Among other tasks, the Board appoints the chancellor and each university president, approves new academic programs, sets tuition, and coordinates and approves the annual State System operating budget. Additionally, each university has a Council of Trustees that serves as a policy-setting board for the university.

Office of the Chancellor

The Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the State System and is responsible for its management. The Office of the Chancellor is housed at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and divided into two primary management groups:

    • Academic and Student Affairs
    • Administration and Finance

Functions such as human resources, labor relations, and facilities fall within one of these groups. Public Affairs is overseen directly by the
Chancellor’s Office.


Dixon University Center

Originally the home of the Harrisburg Academy and then the University Center at Harrisburg, the site and its five historic buildings was purchased by the State System in 1991. It provides a hub for State System operations and for universities to serve the Harrisburg community through a variety of programs.

In 1993, the location was renamed the Dixon University Center in honor of the Board of Governors’ founding chairman, F. Eugene Dixon Jr., who served  in the role for 17 years. Today, it provides free, flexible space for academic programs offered by State System universities. Additionally, private institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses rent space at the center for academic programs, meetings, and functions.

The State System combines its purchasing power to share services such as payroll, legal counsel, IT, construction management, procurement, and others, which provides greater efficiency than if each university and the Office of the Chancellor had to fully staff these functions on its own. These services are also housed at the Dixon University Center or in nearby facilities in Harrisburg.