​​Brings 27 years of experience at California to the position


HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today selected Robert “Bob” Thorn to serve as interim president of California University of Pennsylvania, starting January 30, 2021.

Thorn currently serves as vice president for administration and finance at California, a position he’s held since February 2010. Before arriving at California in 1993, he served as associate director of accounting/financial aid at Ohio University.

“California University of Pennsylvania enters an exciting time when the university is on a path toward success and growth, and we’re fortunate to welcome Bob into this leadership role,” Board of Governors Chair Cindy Shapira said. “He knows the campus and community as well as anyone, and we’re grateful he’ll be leading his fellow Vulcans as they build momentum.”

Thorn earned an associate’s of applied business degree from Kent State University, Ohio, in 1979, and two years later earned a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting from Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia. In 1990, Thorn earned a master’s in education degree from Ohio University, specializing in higher education administration.

He joined California in 1993 as director of financial aid. He then went on to serve as assistance vice president for administration and finance before being named vice president in 2010.

“We’re blessed at the State System to have a deep pool of talented individuals like Bob who care deeply about student success and the success of the entire university,” Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “His experience at California and his deep ties to the community will serve him well, and I look forward to working with him and watching California succeed under his leadership.”

The appointment will go through at least July 2021 and will align with the current university integration planning process, which proposes to bring California together with Clarion and Edinboro universities into a single accredited institution that expands student opportunities and also honors local identity. Thorn will serve as California’s eighth president after current President Geraldine Jones retires. 

“It has been my honor to have served as Chancellor when Geraldine also served as California’s president,” Greenstein said. “I stand with all of California in congratulating her on a tremendous legacy. Her accomplishments as president shine through, and perhaps even more brightly, so too does her dedication to and care for the entire community, starting from before she graduated from California in 1972.”

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 93,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania.

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