UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Bill Mahon, vice president for University Relations at Penn State, announced Sept. 7 that he plans to step down from his position later this year. He has accepted a teaching position in the University's College of Communications beginning spring semester 2013.
Mahon has worked in Penn State's Office of University Relations for the past 28 years.
"After almost three decades at Penn State and 10 years before that in the newspaper business, I plan to share my experiences with students preparing to enter journalism and public relations," Mahon said. "Penn State's College of Communications is by any measure one of the best in the nation. It's an honor to join the distinguished group of faculty who are teaching and conducting research there."
Mahon began his career in newspapers, then in 1984 came to Penn State, first as an assistant manager, and then as director of the Department of Public Information. In 2001, he was named assistant vice president for University Relations and in 2007, was appointed vice president.
"We are delighted that Bill will be joining our faculty," said Douglas Anderson, dean of the College of Communications. "His decades of experience in public relations and journalism prepare him perfectly to teach several of our courses. Bill's experience with and expertise in new media also will be a big bonus for our program and students."
Mahon will remain in his administrative position through the fall as the University conducts a national search to identify a new person to lead marketing and communications efforts for the University.
The Office of University Relations is composed of the departments of Marketing, Public Information, Internet Communications, Campus and Community Affairs, and Research Communications. In his position as vice president, Mahon is responsible for internal and external communications. During his tenure with Penn State, University Relations earned a reputation among its peer institutions for its creative use of technology and use of market research to inform decision-making and messaging.
Penn State was one of the first schools in American higher education to create a marketing department and has been a pioneer in the use of marketing research. It also was one of the first universities to establish branded Facebook and YouTube sites, and one of the first to embrace the use of Twitter. In addition, 15 years ago under Mahon's direction, Penn State launched a digital news service, the Penn State Newswire. Today, the Penn State Newswire system has more than half-million subscribers from more than 100 countries and the Penn State Facebook page has 280,000 subscribers.
"Bill has achieved success over many years in leading Penn State's University Relations operations. We have benefitted greatly from his creativity, his knowledge of the media, and his never-ending curiosity about the ways people communicate. These qualities will serve him well in his new faculty role, and be of tremendous value to our students," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson.
Plans to name a search committee to find a replacement for Mahon will be announced in the near future.