Penn State football coach James Franklin will serve on a new committee that will help the university identify its next president.
Penn State has announced the formation of "Next Gen Penn State," a 47-person group that will help identify who replaces President Eric Barron, who is retiring in June 2022. The committee consists of trustees, faculty members, administrators, students and alumni. It was formed to help the Board's Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee gather input regarding the search.
"The Next Gen Penn State initiative is a ‘listening phase’ of our process within which stakeholders from varying backgrounds and perspectives will be charged with actively soliciting input from all areas of our community to help inform the selection of Penn State’s next president," said Matt Schuyler, chair of Penn State's Board of Trustees. "This is a critical step in the overall presidential search process, and it is an indispensable opportunity for community members to be involved. We are asking our community to help inform the Trustees’ Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee in its choice of Penn State’s next leader, and this is a significant charge."
Franklin has been quite involved in Penn State affairs for several years. He has been a regular speaker at campus events, including THON, established the Franklin Family Educational Equity Scholarship with wife Fumi and last year spoke during the "Toward Racial Equity at Penn State" series. Franklin also was recognized as Penn State's Renaissance Fund honoree in 2019.
"I feel like I have a really good understanding of Penn State," Franklin said in a 2020 interview. "... I think I’m developing a Penn State story, and I think I’m developing a true appreciation for what makes this place so special. I know we’ve still got a lot of work to do, and I know I still have 43 more years or whatever it may be until anybody will really listen to me, but I do feel like I’m a part of this community. I think I’ve shown people that I’m invested in this community and this community is important to me, this university is important to me. Not just by the wins on the football field but by our actions off it, too."
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