California University of Pennsylvania interim president Geraldine Jones has been trained for trouble

Kylie Lacey's picture

Geraldine Jones had no idea where her career would lead when she started teaching second grade in 1972.

“For sure I didn't think I would be a university president,” Jones said as she reflected on the journey that led her to become acting president of California University of Pennsylvania 18 months ago as a result of the dismissal of longtime President Angelo Armenti.

Jones was provost, the school's chief academic officer, for four years when it began to struggle under the burden of a $97 million debt amassed as Armenti literally rebuilt the drab, aging campus.

Jones, 62, inherited the debt and an $11.5 million budget deficit when she became acting president.

About 15 months later, at the 2013 fall faculty convocation, she announced that her team has reduced costs sufficiently to erase the deficit — and for the first time in five years the school had a slight surplus.

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