Wanted: College leader who 'walks on water'

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, July 8, 2013

Wanted: chief executive to oversee a multibillion-dollar enterprise that employs thousands, educates tens of thousands, pushes cutting-edge research and medical care, and fields national-caliber sports teams that are often a headline or two away from controversy.

Must be skilled at fundraising and political tightrope walking and have an appreciation for funny-looking mascots. Working 24/7 is expected; ability to walk on water is a plus.

"The joke is frequently told in these searches that you're looking for God on a good day," said Tom Poole, vice president of administration at Penn State and executive secretary of the university's search for a new president.

At Penn State, Rodney Erickson will leave in a year, triggering a search for a successor who, on top of the regular responsibilities of running such a big university, must also deal with the ongoing aftermath of the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Erickson took over in 2011 after former university President Graham Spanier was forced out.

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