Central Penn College's board of directors has chosen Karen Scolforo as its new president by unanimous vote, the college announced today.
Scolforo, former executive director of the Fortis Institute, will assume her role as Central Penn College’s ninth president Aug. 12.
The announcement came after an eight-month national search that resulted in a diverse pool of 127 highly competitive candidates, according to a news release. Todd A. Milano, who was CPC’s president for 22 years, stepped away from that position last year; Melissa Vayda, former CPC vice president, has been serving as interim president.
“From our first conversation, every member of the search committee was immediately impressed with Dr. Scolforo’s student-first mindset, entrepreneurial spirit, and the enthusiasm and fresh thinking she brings to her work,” says William Kobel ’81, chairman of the board. “Dr. Scolforo is an accomplished college administrator. She will focus on academic excellence and creating a unique, inspiring experience for Central Penn students and our staff and faculty.”
Scolforo holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in writing and literature from Rivier University.
In her most recent role as executive director at the Fortis Institute in northeast Florida, Scolforo worked closely with community and business leaders to develop relevant curriculum for career training programs. At the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, she led initiatives to offer new and relevant associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs to the diverse populations within the communities it serves.
Scolforo also currently works with JAXUSA, a division of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, to develop programs to provide training for prospective employees of new businesses.
Previously, Scolforo served as regional vice president of operations for the Southeastern College System, where she directed five Southeastern Institute campuses along the eastern seaboard and managed a $30 million operating budget.
Prior to that, she was Jacksonville campus president of Keiser University. In that position, Scolforo was a three-time award recipient of the Campus of Distinction award for successful student outcomes, high retention, completion, licensure pass rates, and placement. The campus experienced 559 percent growth under her leadership.
In all, CPC said, Scolforo has 14 years of higher education executive leadership experience.
“I was drawn to Central Penn College’s career-focused education, commitment to student success, and engaging campus culture,” Scolforo says. “Higher education has to evolve to meet the current needs of its students, communities and business leaders. I am excited to partner with an impressive group of higher education professionals, dedicated faculty and spirited students. Together we will explore new and exciting ways to fulfill the mission of Central Penn College, to expand the institution’s reach, and to serve a diversified population in preparation for workforce needs of the future.”
CPC has locations in Harrisburg, Lancaster and Bethlehem and on-site degree completion programs with a number of partner institutions. The college recently announced its first graduate-level program.