Harrisburg – The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted unanimously today to extend the contract of Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh through June 30, 2015, praising his strong leadership over the past four years.
“Dr. Cavanaugh has been an outstanding leader since coming to PASSHE in July 2008,” said Board of Governors Chairman Guido M. Pichini. “He has built strong relationships with state and community leaders while shepherding the State System and the 14 universities through the most difficult financial times in our history. And, most of all, he has done so with unwavering dedication to our students.”
Dr. Cavanaugh was named PASSHE chancellor just as the state and national economies were collapsing. He immediately moved the State System into “recession management mode,” helping to ensure the universities would be able to balance their budgets in a way that had the least possible impact on students.
“Tough decisions had to be made, and, working in collaboration with the Board and the universities, especially the presidents, he made them,” Mr. Pichini said. “The decisions we have made together, though not always popular, have always had the best interest of our students at the forefront.”
“Throughout the past four years, Chancellor Cavanaugh not only has been a leader for PASSHE, but also has become an authority on higher education for our Commonwealth,” said Board Vice Chair Marie Conley, who also chairs the Human Resources Committee. “His reputation to provoke thoughtful and necessary discussions about the future of higher education have earned him leadership positions with several national organizations.”
Dr. Cavanaugh has been elected by his peers to leadership roles with, among others, the State Higher Education Executive Officers, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of System Heads. He also is chair of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Board of Trustees and of its executive committee, and a commissioner of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
“Given the changed landscape of higher education – a reality that has impacted public universities not just in Pennsylvania, but across the nation – strong leadership is essential,” Mr. Pichini added. “Chancellor Cavanaugh’s efforts over the last four years demonstrate we have that leadership in place.
“As we move ahead into a still uncertain future, we do so with the assurance that under Dr. Cavanaugh’s leadership, the State System will succeed, and, most important, so will our students,” Mr. Pichini said.
Dr. Cavanaugh’s contract extension does not include any changes in compensation or benefits.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with nearly 120,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 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.