​Harrisburg, PA - The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education today unanimously selected Dr. Karen Riley to be the next president of Slippery Rock University (SRU) following a nationwide search. The appointment takes effect July 1, 2023.
Riley will succeed William Behre, who has been SRU president since 2018. Behre announced in February that he would retire on June 30, 2023.
Karen Riley.jpgRiley has been provost and chief academic officer at Regis University in Denver, Colorado since 2021, launching a plan focusing on excellence in teaching, advancing research, offering relevant programs and stackable credentials. Before joining Regis University, Riley was dean of the College of Education at the University of Denver from 2014 to 2021. During that time, Riley increased scholarly productivity across the college, increased the number of students, faculty and staff and launched a Center for Professional Development to provide certificates and stackable credentials.
“Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Riley has demonstrated a strong commitment to student success inside and outside the classroom and will be a great person to lead the university,” said Board Chair Cindy Shapira. “Under President Behre, Slippery Rock University has maintained, even expanded upon its considerable strengths. We are confident that Dr. Riley will guide the university to the next level of excellence as it continues to provide a high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to students.”
Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colorado State University and a master’s degree in early childhood special education and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Denver. An expert in neurodevelopmental disorders, Riley has researched approaches to addressing societal issues and improving the lives of those affected by Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome.
“Dr. Riley is committed to listening to all voices on campus and working in partnership with students, faculty and staff,” said State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “SRU is an outstanding and vibrant institution that is improving the lives of students and providing a high quality and career-relevant public higher education. This is an exciting time for SRU, and I believe Karen is the perfect person to lead the university. I look forward to working with her.”
About Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock University was founded in 1889. Today, SRU is a four-year, public, coeducational, comprehensive university offering undergraduate and select graduate programs to more than 8,500 students. Located in the borough of Slippery Rock in Butler County, SRU prepares students for the workforce of the future through comprehensive learning experiences to help them succeed in their lives, careers and to be engaged citizens.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the public university system of the commonwealth with a mission to provide a high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to students. With 90% of its students from Pennsylvania, PASSHE educates approximately 85,000 degree-seeking students, with thousands more in certificate and career programs. The universities collectively offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Across the System, there are more than 800,000 living alumni, most of whom live in Pennsylvania.

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