Penn State’s focus on economic development, with programs like Penn State Schuylkill Co-op and 21 LaunchBoxes and Innovation Hubs across the state, has created new job growth and opportunities for businesses, students, and entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Sara Thorndike serves as the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer at The Pennsylvania State University. Founded in 1855, Penn State is one of the premier research universities in the world with more than $1 billion in research expenditures, a driver of economic growth and prosperity for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contributing more than $11.6 billion to the economy, and is the Commonwealth’s only land-grant institution. With more than 6,400 full-time faculty and more than 160 baccalaureate degree programs and 190 graduate programs, Penn State is a comprehensive academic institution with a $7.7 billion annual operating budget. Penn State enrolls nearly 100,000 students and has 24 campus locations and 19 academic colleges, employs approximately 32,500 faculty and staff, and includes a medical college, two law schools, an online World Campus, and majority ownership of Penn State Health.
The SVP for Finance and Business/Treasurer is responsible for management and strategic planning for Finance and Business and Auxiliary & Business Services (including Housing, Food Services, Catering, Parking, Transportation Services, ID Card, Airport, Bookstore, Multimedia & Print, Hotels, Conference Center, Surplus, and General Stores), Commonwealth Operations, Finance & Corporate Controller, Athletics Finance & Business, College of Medicine Finance & Business, Real Estate, Organizational Change Management, Diversity & Inclusion, Enterprise Project Management, Risk Management, Procurement Services, Internal Audit, Investment Management, Physical Plant, Sustainability, Information Technology, Information Security, and University Police and Public Safety. The SVP also serves on the Penn State Health Board.
Prior to assuming the SVP position at Penn State, Sara served as the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance/CFO at East Carolina University and Chief Financial Officer at UNC Wilmington. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina and has served in higher education for more than 16 years. Prior to entering academia, she worked in non-profit and corporate finance. Sara serves on the Centre County United Way Board and Centre County's Chamber of Business & Industry Board. She has volunteered for several higher education organizations, including NACUBO and SACUBO, and is looking forward to joining the EACUBO Board this Fall. Sara holds an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from UNC Wilmington, an MBA from The Ohio State University, and a BS in accounting from Franklin University.