Penn State York to honor Joel and Judith Rodney with naming and celebration

Joel Rodney served as chancellor at the York campus from 2003 to 2011
Older man wearing leg braces and speaking, several people in the background

Joel Rodney, center, speaks with to a campus group during a retirement celebration in 2011 at Penn State York.  The campus is naming a meeting room in the Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration, the Chancellor Emeritus Joel Rodney and Judith Rodney Meeting Room.  The event is set for Sept. 12 from 12-2 p.m.with speeches and ribbon-cutting at 12:15 p.m.

Credit: Barbara Dennis

YORK, Pa. — Penn State York will honor the work of Chancellor Emeritus Joel Rodney and Judith Rodney with a celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 12, from noon to 2 p.m., when a meeting room in the Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration will be named in their honor. Speeches and a ribbon-cutting are set for 12:15 p.m. Joel Rodney was chancellor at the York campus from 2003-11.

“Penn State York is proud to name a meeting room in the Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration for Chancellor Emeritus Joel Rodney and Judith Rodney,” said David Christiansen, chancellor of Penn State York. “For many years Joel Rodney served as the chancellor of Penn State York, and during that time the campus benefited immensely from his efforts. Joel created the first Penn State undergraduate articulation agreement with a university in India, increased the campus' engagement with the York community, and laid the groundwork with Don Graham, chairman and founder of the Graham Group, to create the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration. In recognition of the Rodney’s continued support and dedication to the campus, it is fitting that we do this to show our appreciation as a campus.”

At 12:15 p.m., Christiansen will give remarks and Joel Rodney will speak. The group will travel to the lower level of the Graham Center for the ribbon-cutting and naming of room 002. The inscription on the plaque reads, "The Chancellor Emeritus Joel Rodney and Judith Rodney Meeting Room."

Under Joel Rodney’s leadership, the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center on the campus was completed in 2005 and a theater minor was added to the curriculum at York. The Edward M. Elias Science Building, featuring updated classroom and lab facilities, opened in the summer of 2010 and renovations to the old chemistry labs at the campus were transformed into a high-tech engineering facility, the Ralph G. and Madeline B. Swenson Engineering Center, which opened in 2011.

Rodney is well-known for his passion for international education and his commitment is evident in the programs that were created during his tenure at the campus. During his time as chancellor, he was instrumental in designing a 2+2 program between Penn State and the Vidyalankar School of Information Technology in India that allowed students from India to combine the first two years of university education in computer science in India with their final two years in information sciences and technology (IST) at Penn State York. The first students came to York in 2008 and the program continues today. In addition, he helped found a multi-campus India Initiative which expanded the two-plus-two program to additional schools in India and involved more Penn State campuses.

In the community, he was honored by the then York County Chamber of Commerce with an Exemplar Award for being an outstanding leader. He was a member of the Rotary Club of York and served on the boards of the Advanced Skills Center in York, the Susquehanna Heritage Trust the Art Institute of York, and the York Area Regional Charter Schools. He also held several posts including chair, chair-elect ,and officers in the chamber. He also served on the board of directors and as vice president of the Crispus Attucks Association and was on the board of directors of the York County Economic Development Corporation.

In 2011, he was the speaker at spring commencement on May 13 at Penn State York, just prior to retiring from the University on July 31.

Still active in the education community, he is a member of International Advisory Board of Apeejay Stya University in Gurugram, India, and is a professor and dean emeritus there as well.

He is listed in “Who’s Who in America” and has served as a U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration grant and program reviewer. The Rodneys now live outside the Philadelphia area.