MALVERN, Pa. — Penn State Great Valley Chancellor James A. Nemes recently announced his decision to retire effective July 1, 2022, after more than a decade of service to the campus.
“Penn State Great Valley has made great strides under Dr. Nemes’ leadership,” said Kelly Austin, interim senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor at Penn State. “He has helped transform the campus and enhance the student experience through program expansion, facility upgrades, and community outreach. His impact will be felt for many years to come on the campus, the University, and the local community.”
Nemes began his time at Penn State Great Valley as the head of the engineering division in 2007. He was named interim chancellor in January 2015 and chancellor and chief academic officer a year later.
Within the past five years alone, Nemes has overseen the establishment of the REV-UP Center for Entrepreneurship, initiated a partnership with nearby Immaculata University to establish a pipeline of graduate students, overseen the $1.9 million renovation to create the Knowledge Commons, and established a $50,000 educational equity scholarship.
The REV-UP Center for Entrepreneurship was created in 2016 with a $50,000 seed grant from Invent Penn State. A program operating in partnership with the Chester County Economic Development Council, REV-UP supports early-stage enterprises, provides access to engineering fabrication tools, and offers an annual competition for entrepreneurs to pitch ideas. In May 2020, REV-UP was incorporated as part of the Great Valley LaunchBox, which further expanded the campus’ entrepreneurial support and outreach.
In November 2018, Penn State Great Valley completed renovations to the lower level of the Main Building to establish the Knowledge Commons, a 9,000-square foot shared learning space that fosters collaboration among students, faculty and staff. In addition to the library’s circulation desk and limited onsite collection, there are group study rooms, a micro-market, a 3D printing lab, a One Button Studio, a media editing room, a gaming room, and a fitness studio. Several rooms and spaces in the Knowledge Commons have been named thanks to the generous support of donors.
Great Valley has also added several new graduate and professional development programs under Nemes’ leadership, including the Master of Science and Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics degrees; the Master of Professional Accounting program; the New Ventures and Entrepreneurship graduate certificate; the Integrated Digital Marketing certificate program; and the Workforce and Career Development certificate program, which will launch in the spring semester.
“Perhaps the one thing I would say I’m most proud of is how the reach of Penn State Great Valley has been extended,” Nemes said. “As a campus that served students almost exclusively from southeastern Pennsylvania, that reach is now extended across the globe. Our seven online programs include students from across the United States and beyond, and those programs have received national recognition for excellence and deservedly so. In addition, our resident programs have made Penn State Great Valley a destination of choice for students around the world. Those students have enriched the campus to the benefit of us all.”
Nemes earned his master and doctor of science degrees from The George Washington University and his bachelor of engineering degree from the University of Maryland. Prior to coming to Penn State, he was an associate professor of mechanical engineering and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he also held several administrative positions, including interim dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies. Nemes has also held a number of positions in industry and government, including research engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.