MANSFIELD - Allan J. Golden was named interim president at Mansfield University by the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education effective Dec. 18.
Maravene Loeschke, who has served as university president since July 2006, announced in September that she would leave the university at the end of the fall semester to become president of Towson University in Maryland, her alma mater.
Golden, who has been interim vice president of finance and administration since February, said he had expressed some interest in the position when he learned of Loeschke's impending departure.
"They were looking at a number of potential candidates and the way things worked out, I was fortunate enough to get the appointment," Golden said.
As for his other duties, Golden said the search for someone to fill that vice presidency permanently nearly is over.
"We have been searching for several months for a permanent vice president of finance and administration and we are very close to wrapping up that search," he said.
Golden said the search has been narrowed down to three finalists, and the president - either Loeschke or Golden - will make the appointment, depending on how quickly things move forward.
Golden said he believes his 42 years of working in the field of higher education and 30 of those at the senior level have prepared him for the rigors of taking on a presidency.
"There is a significant difference between a vice president, one of several, and a president in charge of a university, but I feel up to the challenges that I will face as president that I haven't had to as a vice president," he said.
At the top of the list of challenges Golden said he will face is the financial future of the university.
"Certainly finances are always a key issue and based on the situation we had in the current year we are anxiously waiting to see what the governor will recommend for next year," he said.
"But in addition, we need to grow the enrollment at MU, and working with the gas industry also is a high priority for us," he added.
A search committee will be appointed by the university's Council of Trustees to identify and interview potential candidates for a permanent president and the Board of Governors will make the final selection on who the new president will be.
Golden spent nearly 28 years as a senior administrator at California University of Pennsylvania before retiring in late 2009.