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New president selected for West Chester University of Pennsylvania
University of North Dakota Provost Dr. Greg R. Weisenstein to lead institution

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dr. Greg R. Weisenstein, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Dakota, has been selected to serve as the next president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Board of Governors made the selection today at the conclusion of a national search. Dr. Weisenstein will replace Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler, who served as the university’s president for nearly 16 years before retiring in June. Dr. Linda Lamwers has served as interim president since July.

Dr. Weisenstein was named provost of the University of North Dakota in 2005. Previously, he served for six years as dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development at Montana State University. Concurrent with his academic appointments, he has held a number of leadership and advisory positions, including serving on presidential advisory committees under Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He began his academic career as a high school teacher in Port Angeles, Wash., in 1969.

“Dr. Weisenstein has an impressive professional background, including significant public higher education leadership experience at several universities in North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, South Carolina and Washington,” said Board of Governors Chairman Kenneth M. Jarin. “His government and international expertise also stand out. He is an excellent choice to lead West Chester into the future.”

PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh called Dr. Weisenstein a “tremendous leader who will serve both West Chester and the Commonwealth well.”

“Dr. Weisenstein has had an extraordinary career, and I am certain he will contribute significantly to PASSHE’s leadership team and will be a welcome addition to our outstanding cadre of presidents,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

“We are very pleased with the appointment of Dr. Weisenstein as West Chester University's next president,” said Council of Trustees Chair Thomas A. Fillippo. “Given his distinguished career and exceptional leadership in public higher education, he will serve the university very well. I am grateful to everyone who contributed to this very important decision.”

“I am delighted to have been selected as the 14th President of West Chester University and enthusiastically look forward to working with the entire campus community to build upon the great traditions and accomplishments of WCU,” Dr. Weisenstein said. “As I learned more about the university, and spent time during the interview process interacting with faculty, staff, students and administrators, I became increasingly excited about being part of WCU's very bright future.  With the help of our alumni and friends, I am convinced that we can continue to elevate the value that WCU brings to its many constituencies and to its role in strengthening PASSHE.

“My wife, Sandra, and I are looking forward to becoming active members of the Borough of West Chester and forming friendships throughout Chester County and the Commonwealth.  We will be spending a good deal of time after we arrive getting to know people on and off campus, and learning about their dreams for the future of West Chester University.”

Dr. Weisenstein earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. history and geology and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Washington; and a doctoral degree in administration and special education from the University of Kansas.

As provost at the University of North Dakota, Dr. Weisenstein serves as the chief academic officer of the more than 12,500-student university in Grand Forks. The university offers degree programs through the doctoral level in 193 areas of study. He has helped to increase the visibility of the institution statewide, nationally and internationally, and developed innovative recruitment strategies to increase both out-of-state and international enrollments at UND.

Dr. Weisenstein led a diversity strategic plan for the university, revised and strengthened the university’s general education programs and initiated an annual Dean’s Bus Tour of the state to better align programs and services with the state’s needs. He also has worked with student government to establish new programs and initiatives, including a leadership minor, and expanded institutional and student community involvement, helping UND to be among the first universities nationally to receive the new Carnegie designation of an “Engaged University.”

As dean of the College of Education at Montana State, Dr. Weisenstein helped to increase student retention and triple the minority student graduation rate. The college also quadrupled its annual research expenditures. The MSU Student Success Campaign resulted in a more than 300 percent increase in scholarships, including receipt of a $2.2 million gift.

Dr. Weisenstein’s other academic appointments have included serving as dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs from 1993 to 1999; associate dean of research at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., from 1989-93; and as coordinator of secondary special education, vocational education and rehabilitation at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1979-89. He also was an assistant professor at both Oregon State University and the University of Oregon and an instructor at the University of Kansas and Peninsula College.

Working for the U.S. Department of State, Dr. Weisenstein was responsible for restructuring higher education in the Republic of Moldova. He also serves as chairperson of the World Bank Education Task Force for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and was chief negotiator for international agreements in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Those negotiations included direct talks with former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbechev.

He is a member of the Grand Forks Chamber Board and the Board of Trustees of American College of Norway in Moss, Norway. He served two terms as an elected school board president. In addition to serving on presidential advisory committees under Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, he also was among three education deans selected to discuss national education policy with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in the White House in 2002.

Dr. Weisenstein has been the recipient of numerous awards, including State Educator of the Year, Best Program of the Year and the Teaching and Advising Excellence Award. He has produced more than 65 publications, including four books, and has made more than 100 keynote presentations at various conferences.

Founded in 1871, West Chester University of Pennsylvania enrolls approximately 13,600 students, including about 2,100 graduate students. It offers 80 undergraduate and 57 graduate programs and employs about 750 full- and part-time faculty.

Now in its 25th year, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with more than 112,500 students.  The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study.  Approximately 405,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

Kenn Marshall
Media Relations Manager
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
Office of the Chancellor
Dixon University Center
2986 North Second Street
Harrisburg, PA  17110-1201
717-329-0809 (cell)