The Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today unanimously selected Dr. Jon Anderson to serve as the next president of Pennsylvania Western University. His appointment to PennWest’s top leadership role takes effect July 1, 2024.

Anderson will succeed Dr. Lorraine “Laurie” Bernotsky, who has served as PennWest’s interim president since 2023.

Anderson is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Utah University (SUU), a regional institution with more than 15,000 students. Prior to joining SUU, he was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Middle Georgia State University, which has five physical campuses and online program offerings. He also spent 10 years in various administrative positions, including deputy provost and associate vice president, at the University of West Georgia.

“Dr. Anderson impressed the Board of Governors with his focus on student success, his commitment to shared governance, and his experience with integrating academic and student support systems across multi-campus institutions,” said Board of Governors Chair Cynthia Shapira.

“At this pivotal moment for PennWest, we believe that Dr. Anderson is the committed, collaborative and strategic leader this university needs.”

At Southern Utah, where he chaired the Strategic Planning Committee, Anderson manages an $85 million budget in a division with nearly 550 full-time faculty/staff and more than 400 adjunct instructors. At Middle Georgia State University, created from the merger of Middle Georgia and Macon State colleges, he oversaw the integration of academic and support services across five campuses, each with a distinct culture and focus, and strengthened its online division.

“Dr. Anderson is uniquely qualified for the presidency of PennWest,” said Kathy Pape, chair of the university’s Council of Trustees. “He has demonstrated the ability to engage successfully with a wide variety of students, faculty and staff in a multi-campus environment. He has a wealth of experience in business management, data analysis and budget planning. Above all, he is committed to PennWest’s mission of providing a life changing educational experience for our students and a workforce for our communities.”

Read Chair Kathy Pape's message to the PennWest community here.

Anderson earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration: Management from the University of

Kentucky, an M.Ed. in Business Education from the (State) University of West Georgia, a B.S. in Sociology from Utah State University, and an A.A.S. in General Studies: Health and Education from Ricks College (Idaho), where he was a student-athlete.

He and his wife, Kristy, have seven children and seven granddaughters. Their youngest son, Bryce, will accompany them on their move to western Pennsylvania.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to put down roots in western Pennsylvania and help to shape the future of PennWest,” Anderson said. “The role of a regional university is to serve students and elevate communities — and PennWest lives that mission every day. I am honored to be part of its story.

“My family and I look forward to exploring all three campuses and meeting the faculty, staff and students. We are excited to engage with alumni and to get to know the surrounding communities that are an integral part of California, Clarion and Edinboro.

“It takes a remarkable combination of courage and collaboration to re-imagine a university as PennWest has done. Together, we will continue to build on the progress PennWest has already made, and we will find new ways to fulfill our promise to the students and communities we serve. Boundless opportunities lie ahead.”

About Pennsylvania Western University

Created through the consolidation of California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities, PennWest launched on July 1, 2022, and is the second-largest university in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, serving more than 11,300 undergraduate and graduate students on its three campuses and through PennWest Global Online.