Central Penn College Appoints Dr. Karen Scolforo Ninth President
SUMMERDALE, Pa., July 22, 2013 ― Following a unanimous vote by the Central Penn College board of directors, Karen Scolforo, Ed.D., former executive director of the Fortis Institute and former Jacksonville campus president of Keiser University, today was announced the ninth president of Central Penn College.
Throughout Dr. Scolforo’s 14 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 Dr. 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.
“From our first conversation, every member of the search committee was immediately impressed with Dr. Scolforo’s student-first mindset, entrepreneurial spirit, and the enthusiasm and fresh thinking she brings to her work,” says William Kobel ’81, chairman, Central Penn College board of directors. “Dr. Scolforo is an accomplished college administrator. She will focus on academic excellence and creating a unique, inspiring experience for Central Penn students and our staff and faculty.”
Scolforo was among the finalists for the position to succeed Todd A. Milano, who now serves as president emeritus and ambassador to the Central Penn College Education Foundation after more than 22 successful years as president. Scolforo will officially begin in her new position as president on August 12.
The announcement came after an eight-month national search that resulted in a diverse pool of 127 highly competitive candidates. The search relied extensively on college community feedback.
“Following meetings with faculty, staff and students it was quite apparent that Dr. Scolforo was an excellent fit for Central Penn,” Kobel says. “She understands and appreciates the value of a career-focused education and has demonstrated the critical skills needed to maintain high academic standards. I know our college community will quickly embrace President Scolforo as we work together to meet the challenges, and capitalize on the opportunities, that lie ahead in higher education.”
As former Jacksonville campus president of Keiser University in northeast Fla., Scolforo is a three-time award recipient of the ‘Campus of Distinction’ award for successful student outcomes, high retention, completion, licensure pass rates, and placement; successes she attributes to visible, accessible, student-focused leadership. Under her leadership, Scolforo’s Keiser University campus experienced 559 percent growth.
“I was drawn to Central Penn College’s career-focused education, commitment to student success, and engaging campus culture,” Dr. Scolforo says. “Higher education has to evolve to meet the current needs of its students, communities and business leaders. I am excited to partner with an impressive group of higher education professionals, dedicated faculty and spirited students. Together we will explore new and exciting ways to fulfill the mission of Central Penn College, to expand the institution’s reach, and to serve a diversified population in preparation for workforce needs of the future.”
In Scolforo’s most recent role as executive director at the Fortis Institute in northeast Fla., she worked closely with community and business leaders to develop relevant curriculum for career training programs. At the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, she led initiatives to offer new and relevant associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs to the diverse populations within the communities it serves.
After her presidency at the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, Scolforo was appointed regional vice president of operations for the Southeastern College System, where she directed five Southeastern Institute campuses along the eastern seaboard and managed a $30M operating budget. Her experience in multi-campus leadership positions her well to lead Central Penn’s Summerdale, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations. She serves on numerous business, community and higher education advisory councils and associations in the Jacksonville area. Scolforo currently works with JAXUSA, a division of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, to develop programs to provide training for prospective employees of new businesses.
At her prior institutions, she has shown a commitment to social justice and diversity, and has researched the role of service projects as they relate to student retention, campus ownership and pride. An avid fundraiser and volunteer, she has served on two capital campaigns and currently serves on the development committee for HandsOn Jacksonville, a nonprofit fundraising organization serving the needs of thousands in the Jacksonville area.
As an educator, Scolforo has taught many student success courses. Previous educational roles she has served in are: regional executive director over three campuses in three New England states; school director, dean of education, director of admission and K-8 teacher.
She holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in writing and literature from Rivier University. A published writer, Scolforo has written books, papers and manuscripts on higher education, student success and leadership.
Special events will take place shortly after Scolforo begins her presidency so the various college constituencies and surrounding communities can meet with her. Details on the events open to the community will be shared at www.centralpenn.edu/president.
Central Penn College has been helping students turn potential into career success since 1881, now offering career-focused associate, bachelor's and master’s degrees in a variety of fields. Degree programs are available in: accounting, business administration, criminal justice, information technology, communications, healthcare, homeland security, legal studies and organizational leadership. The college, currently serving students at its Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley 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