Graham Spanier called it a "great privilege and honor to serve Penn State" during his last 16 years as president.
Spanier and legendary football coach Joe Paterno were fired Wednesday night by the university's board of trustees in the wake of child sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"Our great university has been rocked by serious charges against a former coach," Spanier said. "The presentment by the Attorney General describes acts that should never be tolerated or ignored. I was stunned and outraged to learn that any predatory act might have occurred in a university facility or by someone associated with the university."
"I am heartbroken to think that any child may have been hurt and have deep convictions about the need to protect children and youth," he continued. "My heartfelt sympathies go out to all those who may have been victimized. I would never hesitate to report a crime if I had any suspicion that one had been committed."
"The acts of no one person should define this university," Spanier said. "Penn State is defined by the traditions, loyalty and integrity of hundreds of thousands of students, alumni and employees."
"Penn State and its Board of Trustees are in the throes of dealing with and recovering from this crisis," he said. "and there is wisdom in a transition in leadership so that there are no distractions in allowing the University to move forward."
This university is a large and complex institution, and although I have always acted honorably and in the best interests of the university, the buck stops here," Spanier said. "In this situation, I believe it is in the best interests of the university to give my successor a clear path for resolving the issues before us."
I will always value the wonderful relationships that I have developed with the many thousands of Penn Staters, community leaders and members of the higher education community throughout the country," he concluded. "I will continue to serve the university in every way possible and celebrate the greatness of Penn State."