The office of the Chancellor & Dean

Lori J. Bechtel Wherry, Chancellor and Dean

Lori J. Bechtel Wherry
Chancellor and Dean

We Are our mission

At Penn State Altoona we engage, inspire, and prepare our students for success as we carry out our mission:

“To cultivate a vibrant learning environment through excellence in teaching, research, creative activities, outreach and the advancement of personal, social, and intellectual growth, and to empower a diverse student body with the knowledge and skills to be critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and civically-engaged global citizens.”

We serve our students while fostering their ability to think critically, communicate effectively, respect diversity, and change our world. By engaging them in learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, such as study/travel abroad, research and creative activities with faculty, internships, and service and community engagement, we create transformative academic experiences that ensure their success. We are dedicated to augmenting our students’ learning experiences and are committed to providing them with every opportunity to succeed so that they may change their lives, and our world, for the better.

While I have worked with and been inspired by my colleagues for many decades, our students continue to inspire me and others at our campus and in our community. They do this through their service and actions as they continue to improve our campus and surrounding community. Just one example of our students’ leadership is their commitment of a portion of their Student Facilities Fee over the past several years to bank funds in support of the Adler Athletic Complex renovation and new additions. Our past student leaders knew that they would graduate by the time the Adler project would be complete, yet they had the foresight to invest in the future of our college. Our students supported approximately $7.3 million of the total $24.5 million Adler project. Their pledge of support to our college is truly remarkable and inspiring, and I express my deep gratitude to them. Their commitment, character, and belief in the importance of “paying it forward” is inspiring.

There are many others who worked with us to enable the Adler project to come to fruition. We are grateful to Reliance Bank for its philanthropic support to name the Reliance Bank Fitness Center and for funding from Penn State’s Department of General Services, the University Facilities Renewal Fund, the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, the University Access Committee, University Central Support, and the approval of the Board of Trustees, all of which made this project possible. This new complex will promote student health and fitness, enhance our Division-III varsity athletics and recreational programs, and support our new kinesiology degree program by providing state-of-the-art facilities, classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices. It will also host many community-based programs and activities in the years to come.

Thanks to the unwavering support of many individuals, businesses, and the University in bringing the Adler Athletic Complex addition and renovation project to fruition, Penn State Altoona is better equipped to engage, inspire, and prepare our students for success.

Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry
Chancellor and Dean


Better Late Than Never

May 6, 2017, was a rough day for Allie Simpson (second from the right). She missed her commencement ceremony to attend the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference softball tournament, which was subsequently rained out. Things got better upon Simpson’s return to campus, where a few faculty and staff gathered to hold a small private ceremony just for her.



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