UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — John M. Mason Jr., vice president for research and economic development at Auburn University in Alabama, has been appointed as chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg.
“Having first earned my bachelor’s degree at Penn State Harrisburg, I have a great passion and affinity for this wonderful campus,” Mason said. “Now, to be coming back as the chancellor of the campus I began at, is very rewarding and I couldn’t be more humbled and thankful for this opportunity.”
Mason will begin his new role effective August 1 and succeed Mukund S. Kulkarni, who recently announced his intent to retire after leading Penn State Harrisburg since 2010 as part of more than 30 years of service to the University.
“Dr. Kulkarni will be leaving an extraordinary legacy at Penn State Harrisburg and the University for his many years of distinguished service, and we are grateful to him. It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Mason back to the Penn State family,” said Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor at Penn State. “I previously had the privilege to serve as the chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg, a vibrant campus of accomplished scholars, dedicated staff, and talented students. Dr. Mason brings with him a wealth of leadership experience and expertise to advance the college’s long-standing commitment to educational excellence, innovative research, and community outreach.”
In his role at Auburn University, Mason served as the chief research officer and provided leadership for strategic research and economic development initiatives, overseeing research efforts with an annual average expenditures of $130 million. He also served as the president and CEO of the Auburn Research and Technology Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides management services to various research support services, private sector tenants and facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property of Auburn University.
Mason also served as an associate dean of the Penn State College of Engineering from 1997 to 2008, during which time he led the strategic and programmatic development in quality, quantity, significance, visibility, and recognition of the research and graduate educational programs in the College of Engineering. During his time at Penn State, Mason was also a professor of civil engineering and director of the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Transportation Engineering and Management.
Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, Mason was a civil engineer working on site development for residential, commercial and industrial complexes, highway design, drainage, urban stormwater management, traffic studies, erosion and sedimentation control, and preparation of legal case studies associated with highway design and safety.
Mason said he hopes to build on his predecessors’ successes by continuing to enhance Penn State Harrisburg’s strong academic programs, recruiting a diverse and inclusive group of students, supporting the ongoing growth of faculty and staff scholarly and creative work, providing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and advancing campus innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives in partnership with the public and private sectors.
“I look forward to working with the faculty and staff of Penn State Harrisburg to continue to ensure that Penn State Harrisburg is a destination campus for leading students and scholars from all over the world,” Mason said.