MANSFIELD, PA– The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today unanimously selected Dr. Charles E. Patterson, senior advisor for executive outreach in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, to be the next president of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1.
Dr. Patterson has been in his current role since 2017. 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.
“Dr. Patterson has a broad background in higher education, ranging from the classroom to the highest levels of administration,” said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. “That background and his commitment to students will serve Mansfield University well as it strives to advance its mission of serving students, the community and the Commonwealth.”
Dr. Patterson is responsible for the development and execution of FSA’s outreach and engagement efforts with higher education executives across the country, as well as with a variety of stakeholder organizations. He leads strategic programs focused on higher education finance and the protection of student borrowers. FSA is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation, distributing more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds each year to more than 13 million students attending nearly 6,000 colleges and career schools.
“Throughout his career, Dr. Patterson has worked with students, with faculty and with his administrative colleagues to help ensure students succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “With his breadth of experience and obvious passion, he will be a great addition to both Mansfield University and the State System. I am thrilled that he will be joining our team.”
Dr. Patterson said he “truly honored” to have been selected as Mansfield University’s next president and is excited about the opportunity to take on the role.
“I am leaving the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., to join a community of dedicated faculty and staff that inspire campus-wide excellence in teaching and student achievement,” he said. “I look forward to serving alongside our campus and community leaders, as well as the extended Mountie Nation, as we shape the future of Mansfield University.”
The Board’s action today comes at the conclusion of a national search for Mansfield University’s next leader. Peter Fackler has been serving as interim president since last summer and will remain in that role until Dr. Patterson’s arrival on campus.
“We are elated to welcome Dr. Patterson as Mansfield University’s next president,” said Bobbi Kilmer, chair of the university’s Council of Trustees. “He is an experienced leader who is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges our campus is facing. I am confident Dr. Patterson will provide the leadership and stability Mansfield needs to navigate the future while at the same time respecting our history and culture. I am grateful to the members of our presidential search committee for their hard work and dedication throughout this incredibly important process.”
“It was an honor to chair the search committee tasked to recommend the next president to the Council of Trustees,” said Karen Russell, who also is a council member. “Dr. Patterson will provide student-focused leadership that is critical to the university’s continued commitment to student recruitment, enrollment and retention. His experience in fiscal management, fundraising and community outreach will guide the university into the future. We look forward to welcoming him into the Mansfield University family.”
Dr. Patterson has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He also attended the University System of Georgia’s Executive Leadership Institute and the Association of State Colleges and Universities’ New Presidents Academy.
Prior to taking his current position, Dr. Patterson served for two years as interim president of Georgia Southwestern, a university of about 3,000 students in Americus, Georgia. The university is the home of the internationally recognized Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving and is a strong regional asset and economic driver for Southwest Georgia.
As interim president of GSW, Dr. Patterson led efforts to stabilize and grow the university’s undergraduate and graduate enrollment, which resulted in a 10 percent increase in the size of the student body during his tenure. He also led the development and implementation of the university’s strategic plan and accompanying enrollment management plan and increased external and internal marketing and promotional efforts to enhance institutional branding, student enrollment and student engagement activities.
Grant funding and annual giving increased by almost 75 percent in Dr. Patterson’s first year at GSW; and, in his second year there, the university received an award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for overall performance and improvement in educational fundraising programs.
During his time at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Patterson was a member of both the senior leadership team and President’s Cabinet. As the university’s senior research officer, he represented the school to grant agencies and industry leaders in the region and throughout the state.
He was responsible for strategically growing and supporting the university’s research and scholarly efforts by identifying and forming partnerships with federal, state and regional entities. He also worked to integrate the scholarly and instructional elements of the university’s mission and academic programs in support of student engagement and degree completion and to boost the university’s role as an economic driver in the community and state.
Dr. Patterson began his academic career in 2003 as a project manager in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He later served as assistant director in the Office of Sponsored Programs and as an instructor in the University Honors College.
Among his other roles, Dr. Patterson has served as a member of the University System of Georgia’s Regents Advisory Committee for Economic Development and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He has presented at numerous academic conferences, at both the regional and national levels, and has a variety of professional publications to his credit.
Mansfield University enrolls about 1,600 students and offers more than three dozen associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and nearly 100 undergraduate concentrations and minors. The university opened as Mansfield Classical Seminary in 1857. It was the first school in Pennsylvania to offer a degree in music education.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education comprises 14 public universities, which combined enroll the largest number of Pennsylvania residents among all four-year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. With nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the State System is a vital contributor to the Pennsylvania economy, generating an estimated $6.7 billion of economic activity annually. Collectively, the State System universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. The universities have nearly 800,000 living alumni, the vast majority of whom reside in Pennsylvania.