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Penn State Provost Named Sole Finalist for Chancellor at CU Boulder

Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Justin Schwartz will likely depart his role at Penn State to become the University of Colorado Boulder’s next chancellor.

CU Boulder announced Schwartz as the sole finalist for the chancellor role Tuesday. Spotlight PA’s Wyatt Massey first reported the move.

In a subsequent news release, Penn State confirmed the anticipated departure and wrote that an interim provost would be appointed in the coming weeks with Schwartz serving in an advisor role during the transition. The university also will begin a national search for a permanent replacement.

Schwartz entered the position with Penn State in a full-time role in May 2023 after serving in an interim capacity since August 2022. Schwartz previously served as Penn State’s Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of the College of Engineering beginning in 2017.

“I believe Dr. Schwartz is the right person to build on the strong foundation already in place and to elevate CU Boulder to even greater heights,” CU Boulder President Todd Saliman said in a release Tuesday. “He has the skills, experience and spirit to help us continue to serve our students and state as Colorado’s flagship university. He is a leader who deeply understands the power and promise of the education, research and service that are at the heart of CU Boulder. He has a proven commitment to diversity and to supporting a community that embodies different cultures and perspectives.”

CU Boulder released Schwartz’s candidacy Tuesday in accordance with Colorado law, which states a finalist for university administration must be shared publicly 14 days prior to formal appointment, according to a message from Schwartz to Penn State colleagues obtained by Massey.

“Working alongside the faculty, researchers, and staff at Penn State, as well as some of the most impressive students in the world, has been a highlight of my career, and I will cherish the memories and relationships I have been lucky enough to forge across Penn State,” Schwartz’s message read. “I want to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunities I have had as dean of the College of Engineering, and most recently as executive vice president and provost.”

Schwartz said he will visit CU Boulder this week in his message to colleagues.

“We have consistently sought the most talented people to guide Penn State, and Justin Schwartz’s academic leadership has been important to the University and to the steps we have taken over the last many months,” Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said in a statement. “I thank him for the contributions he has made as our provost and before that as dean of the College of Engineering and I appreciate his enduring focus and support for students, faculty and staff across the commonwealth throughout his time at the University. I am excited for him and for his family on this incredible opportunity and wish him the very best in his new role.”  

Following Schwartz’s departure, the incoming provost will be the university’s third in four years. Nick Jones stepped down from the position in August 2022 to serve as a special assistant to President Neeli Bendapudi and return to teaching in the College of Engineering, but soon after was named executive vice president of the University of Illinois System.

Geoff Rushton contributed to this report.