Karen Peetz, chair of Penn State University's board of trustees, is expected to head a Trustee Presidential Selection Council, in the search for the university's 18th president, the school said Thursday.
Word of her role comes a day before trustees, meeting today at University Park, are expected to formally usher in a process aimed at identifying by November 2013 a successor to President Rodney Erickson.
The university-wide search effort is expected to have the services of something Penn State historically has not used -- a presidential search firm -- though search firms have been employed during the last 15 years at Penn State to help fill other senior academic positions, university spokesman David LaTorre said.
The presidential search firm has not yet been selected, Mr. La Torre said.
The search comes as Penn State struggles to extricate itself from the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal that led a year ago to the firing of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and the forced resignation of Penn State President Graham Spanier, the school's 16th president who was appointed in 1995.
The fallout continued this week with calls by Auditor General Jack Wagner for an overhaul of the university's governance structure.
Rodney Erickson, who last November became the 17th president of the 96,000-student university, has said he will stay until his contract expires in June 2014, or until a successor is in place.
Mr. Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach at Penn State, was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year period, some on the campus. Mr. Spanier and two other administrators have been charged criminally in connection with an alleged cover-up.
Mr. Sandusky has begun serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
The school is in the process of implementing reforms recommended in a school-commissioned investigative report into how the Sandusky matter was handled. Meanwhile, the university has entered into settlement discussions with victims of Mr. Sandusky.
Bill Schackner: email@example.com, or 412-263-1977. First Published November 16, 2012 2:00 AM