May 21, 2024

Dr. Jon Anderson Named President of Pennsylvania Western University

Contact: Kevin Hensil,

Harrisburg, PA – The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today unanimously selected Dr. Jon Anderson to be the next president of Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest) following a nationwide search. The appointment takes effect July 1, 2024.

Dr. Jon AndersonAnderson is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs/professor at Southern Utah University, a regional institution in Cedar City, Utah, with more than 15,000 students. Under Anderson’s leadership, Southern Utah increased its enrollment, launched its first doctoral program, and added in-person and online degrees and majors aligned with regional industry needs.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Anderson to PennWest and the State System,” said Board Chair Cynthia Shapira. “He is a dynamic and innovative leader who is committed to collaborating with stakeholders across all three PennWest campuses. We found Dr. Anderson to be dedicated to the success of the university’s students, understanding and respectful of their needs, and a champion of higher education. PennWest has made great progress in recent years, and Dr. Anderson is an excellent person to lead the university as it creates rewarding opportunities for students and provides the workforce that western Pennsylvania needs. Further, Dr. Anderson understands the power of being a system to advance access to higher education and to promote economic development statewide.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, I extend my appreciation to the PennWest Council of Trustees, the Presidential Search Committee and the entire university community for your comprehensive nationwide search for a new president. Throughout this months-long process, PennWest students, faculty, staff and community members at the California, Clarion and Edinboro campuses have participated in the presidential search, and your recommendations and input were vital to helping us select Dr. Anderson to lead PennWest into the future.”

Prior to joining Southern Utah University, Anderson was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Middle Georgia State University, which has five physical campuses. Anderson also has held administrative positions at the University of West Georgia, where he was deputy provost and associate vice president, and at the University of Kentucky.

“Dr. Anderson believes in the transformative power of an affordable college degree to break the cycle of poverty and give people the tools to succeed, which aligns perfectly with PASSHE’s mission,” said Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “He is a strategic planner with experience leading a public university with several locations and an online program, like PennWest, and will honor the uniqueness of the California, Clarion and Edinboro campuses. His commitment to collaborating with students, faculty and staff to ensure students continue to receive a high-quality education and vibrant campus experiences will make him an excellent president at PennWest.”

Anderson holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky, an M.Ed. in Business Education from the University of West Georgia, a B.S. in Sociology from Utah State University, and an A.A.S. in General Studies: Health and Education from Ricks College.

“Dr. Anderson is uniquely qualified for the presidency of PennWest,” said Kathy Pape, chair of the university’s Council of Trustees. “He has demonstrated the ability to work successfully with a wide variety of students, faculty and staff in a multi-campus environment. He has a wealth of experience in business management, data analysis and budget planning. Above all, he is committed to PennWest’s mission of providing an exemplary educational experience for our students.”

Anderson added, “I am grateful for the opportunity to put down roots in western Pennsylvania and help to shape the future of PennWest. The role of a regional university is to serve students and elevate communities—and PennWest lives that mission every day. I am honored to be part of its story.”

Anderson will succeed Interim President Dr. R. Lorraine (Laurie) Bernotsky, who will become president of West Chester University on July 1.