MANSFIELD, Pa. (WETM) — Mansfield University President Dr. Charles Patterson has announced that he will be leaving Mansfield to serve as the Interim President of Shippensburg University.
Dr. Patterson says the end of his tenure with Mansfield is part of the integration of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities.
Dr. Patterson has served as the 28th President of Mansfield University since 2019 when he replaced retiring President Francis Hendricks.
Dr. Patterson released his announcement on Thursday afternoon.
Dear Mansfield University Colleagues and Friends:
As you may be aware by now, the State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors today selected me to serve as the Interim President of Shippensburg University. Since integration planning began last year, I have been quite open with the campus community about university integrations and the intended reduction of senior executive positions, including campus presidents, as part of the integration model. I hope you will understand that my transition to Shippensburg is part of that process.
I am very proud of everything that our Mansfield University community has accomplished together in just two short years. Broadly speaking, we ended a 9-year enrollment decline in 2019 and have grown our undergraduate enrollment by almost 10 percent. Fall 2020 retention increased from 73 percent to 78.1 percent. We continue to diligently address financial sustainability and changes in instruction and campus life required by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, we have established a stronger culture of inclusivity in our communications and sharing of information that has allowed us to honestly and openly address campus challenges and opportunities. Underpinning these praiseworthy accomplishments are the many individual efforts of our students, faculty, and staff, which foster a supportive campus climate and the fulfillment of our institutional mission.
Colleen and I love Mansfield University, and while it is an honor to be considered for the role of interim president of Shippensburg University, our work at Mansfield must continue uninterrupted. Sustainability is critically important to our university, our communities, and most importantly our students. At last count, 151 individual Mansfield students, faculty, staff, and trustees have been directly engaged in the process of university integrations with Bloomsburg University and Lock Haven University. Our campus community is leading the change that will expand program breadth, maintain Mansfield’s essential residential character, and achieve more together for the Northeastern region than anyone institution might accomplish on its own.
As I make this transition in late June, I will still support Mansfield University by continuing to serve within the State System, regardless of the outcomes of the integration process. Our fourteen State System universities and their administrations share a common mission that extends beyond the campus footprint. Each university must operate in a sustainable manner. This means I will continue being an unapologetic advocate for the value that Mansfield University, Shippensburg University, and all other public, State System institutions provide to students in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve alongside you and to continue our efforts to advance opportunities for current and future generations of Mansfield University Mountaineers.
Before joining Mansfield University, Dr. Patterson served as a senior advisor for executive outreach in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.
He previously was interim president of Georgia Southwestern State University and also held the position of vice president of research and economic development at Georgia Southern University. He began his academic career at Baylor University.