Central Penn College - The Inauguration of Dr. Karen M. Scolforo

Central Penn College


The Inauguration of Dr. Karen M. Scolforo

Central Penn College's Ninth President

On Saturday, June 7 at 4 p.m., the Central Penn College community will celebrate their future during the Inauguration of Dr. Karen M. Scolforo, the college’s ninth president since 1881.

Scolforo was the unanimous choice for presidency by the board of directors after an eight-month national search that resulted in a diverse pool of 127 highly competitive candidates. She began to serve in her new role in August 2013, and will be officially installed as president on June 7 by William Kobel, chairman of the Central Penn College board of directors and 1981 alumnus, and Todd A. Milano, president emeritus & ambassador to the Central Penn College Education Foundation.

The college has installed two presidents in the previous 45 years, including Bart A. Milano and Todd A. Milano, who both served with energy, vision and dedication for 20 years or more. In that time, the previously named Central Penn Business School moved from its 323 Market Street location in Harrisburg to its current 58-acre residential campus in Summerdale; advanced from offering two-year programs to associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs; opened two bachelor’s degree completion locations in Lancaster and Bethlehem; and began offering fully-online degree programs.

According to Central Penn’s latest One-Year-Graduate Survey, 87.8 percent of graduates were working in their chosen field or continuing their education within one year of graduation.*

“For more than 130 years, Central Penn College has been career-focused,” says Kobel as part of his charge to the new president. “Innovate and evolve with this focus in mind; never lose sight of our desire to contribute tangible skills, business acumen, leadership and professionalism to businesses that hire our graduates. Never lose sight of our commitment to helping students become better people, cultivating their sense of the common good to the broader community.”

Since her arrival on campus, Scolforo has been exploring new ways to fulfill the mission of Central Penn College; expand the institution’s reach; and serve a diverse population to meet the needs of future workforces. In addition to working toward having Central Penn’s Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations serve as autonomous campuses, successful Summerdale programs are being incorporated in Lancaster. Physical therapist assistant evening classes will begin summer 2014, as well as business administration and criminal justice administration day classes.

Building on Central Penn’s degree programs available fully-online, Central Penn’s master’s degree in organizational leadership with a concentration in organizational development will be available online in the fall.

Scolforo has been instrumental in leading the development of new, in-demand academic programs in the allied health fields. A health sciences building is currently under renovation/construction on the Summerdale campus. Fully-online students are experiencing proactive changes to their online learning environment with the addition of Blackboard Community, a new tool that increases online engagement among peers and faculty.

She has demonstrated a commitment to holistic education by expanding student’s perspectives through the arts, diversity and further development of the soft skills necessary to help them succeed in life.

“Central Penn College will continue to prepare its graduates for the real world,” says Scolforo. “We recognize that we have a responsibility, as educators, to prepare out students and ultimately our graduates to be: accountable, responsible and committed to their careers; to their communities; and to their environment. We will encourage innovation and creative problem-solving, respect for individual differences, a solid work ethic, servant leadership and face-to-face communication.”

A new student union, called the Underground, is currently under renovation/construction that will include a writing center, student government association offices, a 250-seat theater (with performances that will be open to the community), dance studio, lounge and fitness center. Additional tutoring opportunities will be available in the Underground.

Scolforo is specifically interested in recommitting to the residential experience on campus, expanding the college’s athletics programs by six new sports and adding a new shuttle transportation system.

“I want Central Penn College to be a place that shines for students,” Scolforo continues. “I want students to know that I’m here to serve them.”

Throughout Scolforo’s 15 years of higher education executive leadership experience, she has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing student learning through a holistic approach to whole-student development. Much of Scolforo’s scholarly work in education has related to student outcomes, assessment and retention; and she has received numerous awards for her work in these areas.  

“Dr. Scolforo has shown great passion for moving Central Penn forward as an institution of learning, while maintaining the values established by the Milano family,” says Carl Heininger, 2003 alumnus and member of the board of directors. “I’m looking forward to the growth and transformation of Central Penn under the strong leadership of Dr. Scolforo and her dedicated team.”

“It has become clear over these past ten months that Dr. Scolforo’s prior career experiences have shaped her students-first mindset and passion for career-focused education,” Kobel adds.

Click here for Dr. Scolforo’s biography, including her roles as former executive director of the Fortis Institute in northeast Fla., and former Jacksonville campus president of Keiser University.

Scolforo looks forward to increased partnerships and service opportunities on behalf of Central Penn College and its students. Since her arrival at Central Penn College, Scolforo has become a member of the Harrisburg Rotary Club, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Leadership Series Harrisburg Area class of 2013, a volunteer for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and a partner with the East Pennsboro Township Commissioners and the East Pennsboro Area School District administrators.

She serves on the Board of the following community organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region; Leadership Harrisburg Area; Modern Transit Partnership; and the West Shore Chamber of Commerce Foundation, where she also serves as co-chair for the Foundation Education Committee. Scolforo is a Trustee for the Central Penn College Education Foundation and serves on the President’s Circle of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC.


Central Penn College has been helping students turn potential into career success since 1881, now offering associate, bachelor's and master’s degrees in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice, communications, healthcare, homeland security, information technology, legal studies and organizational leadership. The college, currently serving students at its Summerdale, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley and online locations, attributes its high rate of student success to a caring faculty and its hands-on learning approach. Based on Central Penn’s most recent One-Year Graduate Survey, 87.8 percent of graduates were employed in their chosen field or continuing their education within one year of graduation. Central Penn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. www.centralpenn.edu