New chancellor picked to lead state system of higher ed

A former executive of the Gates Foundation has been picked to carry on an effort to redesign the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

The state system has selected Daniel Greenstein as its next chancellor, concluding a national search started by the board of governors in fall 2017 after the retirement of former chancellor Frank Brogan.

Former Clarion University president Karen M. Whitney has served as the interim chancellor since then and will remain in that role until Greenstein takes over Sept. 4. 

Greenstein’s starting salary as the system’s fifth chancellor will be $380,000, Monday’s release said.

Among the tasks awaiting Greenstein will be carrying out recommendations for reshaping the 14-university state system.

After a comprehensive review, system leaders are in the process of redesigning its mission to focus on student accessibility and regional workforce needs. In a statement Monday, Greenstein expressed a commitment to that mission.

“I am eager to work closely with the board, as well as with faculty, staff and trustees at the universities of this great public system as we solidify our future and fulfill our public obligation to our students and the state,” he said. 

Greenstein, 57, joins the state system after six years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While there he led an initiative to “raise educational-attainment levels and to promote economic mobility, especially among low-income and minority students,” according to a press release Monday.

Before that, Greenstein spent nearly a decade in leadership roles in the University of California system. Greenstein earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Oxford University in England. 

“Dan comes to us with an incredible level of knowledge and experience and the demonstrated temperament necessary to achieve great things. He will use all of that to help achieve excellence for our students and stakeholders and … to write the template for 21st century public higher education in the nation,” Cynthia D. Shapira, chairwoman of the state system’s board of governors, said.

Gov. Tom Wolf also voiced support for Greenstein in a statement Monday. “With Dr. Greenstein’s leadership, the State System will continue to build a talented and skilled workforce that attracts more businesses to invest and create jobs in Pennsylvania,” the governor said.

The state system is comprised of 14 public universities around Pennsylvania with an annual combined budget of $2.1 billion, according to the agency’s website. Locally, those schools include Millersville University and Shippensburg University. The system serves more than 100,000 degree-seeking students. 

Becca Oken-Tatum
Becca Oken-Tatum is the web editor for the Central Penn Business Journal. She also coordinates and writes for CPBJ's monthly Young Professionals e-newsletter. Email her questions, comments and tips at

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