April 02, 2009

Dr. James H. McCormick named Chancellor Emeritus

Contact: Kevin Hensil, khensil@passhe.edu

The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has conferred the status of Chancellor Emeritus upon founding Chancellor Dr. James H. McCormick, who served the State System as chancellor for its first 18 years.

Dr. McCormick began his tenure as interim chancellor on July 1, 1983, the first day of the State System’s formal existence. He later was selected by the Board of Governors to serve as chancellor and held the position until June 30, 2001, when he left to become chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. He previously had served for 10 years as president of Bloomsburg State College and for eight years as a professor and administrator at Shippensburg State College, both now State System universities. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

As the first chancellor, Dr. McCormick helped establish the strong foundation on which the State System was built. Working in tandem with founding Board of Governors Chairman F. Eugene Dixon Jr. for nearly two decades, Dr. McCormick was responsible for developing many of the policies and practices that continue to guide the State System today.

“Chancellor McCormick left an outstanding legacy,” said Board of Governors Chairman Kenneth M. Jarin. “The State System continues to reap many of the benefits from his leadership and his close collaboration with the late Fitz Dixon. They were a great team and certainly helped get the State System off to a great start, for which we are all grateful.”

“I am honored that the Board of Governors has chosen to recognize me in so meaningful a way,” Dr. McCormick said.  “It was a genuine privilege to be a part of this great system and to serve the people of Pennsylvania for 18 good years.

“Because the system was new, it was a time that demanded considerable creativity and change.  We were about the business of finding our way and making a better way for the system's students.  I am grateful to have had so many fine and loyal colleagues with me in the system office and in university leadership at that time. The governing board was a source of support, as well as direction – often inspiration.  The memory, accomplishment and significance of those years will remain with me forever.”

Dr. McCormick was instrumental both in the creation of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and in the development of its first strategic mission statement and first two strategic plans. He helped design and implement several system wide capital construction programs and successfully advocated for significant increases in state funding levels that led both to the expansion and revitalization of the State System’s 14 university campuses.

Now in its 25th year, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with more than 112,500 students. The 14 universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study.  Approximately 405,000 State System university 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.