Clarion, PA – The Clarion University President, Dr. Karen Whitney, has decided to step down in June of 2018. Whitney is currently in her 8th year as president at Clarion, which makes her the longest serving president in the state system.

Dr. Whitney sent out an email to the college community, explaining the reasons why she is choosing to leave. Although Whitney never actually cites this as one of the reasons, the university is suffering financially, along with many other state-funded universities.

In part of the email, Whitney says that she plans on working just as hard during her final year at the university. She says she looks forward to celebrating Clarion University’s 150th anniversary milestone in September. She also says that she wants to see even more students graduate from Clarion and will continue to cut costs across the university wherever she can.

Members of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the Clarion Council of Trustees say that Whitney worked tirelessly on behalf of the students and faculty at the university. They also acknowledge that Whitney worked hard, even as enrollments are declining and state funding is diminishing for universities.

Now the nationwide search begins to find Whitney’s successor. The Council of Trustees will appoint a search committee to represent concerns from all areas of the university, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and administration.

The entire email:

Dear Golden Eagle Family:

After a great deal of thought and consideration, I have decided to step down as Clarion University’s president, June 2018.

I have always taken the early part of the summer to reflect upon our accomplishments and challenges as a way to chart future efforts. I continue to marvel at the accomplishments and important work that our administration, faculty and staff perform on behalf of our students, alumni and the commonwealth. It is during this time of reflection and organizing our future efforts that I have decided to make my 8th year as president my last year. Even though the trustees and the chancellor have asked me to remain, I have notified the Clarion University Council of Trustees as well as the system chancellor of my intention to retire from the presidency on June 30, 2018.

I am proud of the thousands of Clarion students who have graduated over the last 8 years. I am proud of the faculty and staff who have worked to build the Clarion experience as a transformative life changing experience. We have changed and become more focused and better organized to fulfill our mission. I am proud of the alumni who have stepped up with support, guidance and advocacy on behalf of our students. Our successes are because of the faculty, staff and leadership of this great university. It’s the people. We have overcome many challenges while always keeping our focus on our students’ success.

As I enter my final year as president, there is still very important work to do. My priorities for the year are to enable more students to obtain more Clarion credentials; ensure academic program excellence and relevance; continue cost cutting and efficiency efforts across the university; confront major issues of campus and public concern; and of course celebrate Clarion University’s 150th anniversary milestone.

I am looking forward to working with you this next year, and thank you for all you do.

With great thanks,