William Penn University Names 27th President
Oskaloosa, IA— William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa has taken important steps in a new direction— moving forward in the changing world of higher education. A significant step in this process was naming John Ottosson as president. Ottosson, a 1984 graduate of William Penn, has spent the last 24 years working to promote and help develop the University. In February of this year, Ottosson was named interim president as part of an initiative for experimenting and testing new leadership strategies.
The announcement to confirm Ottosson as president was made following the Board of Trustees meeting on May 19, based on a recommendation made by the University Cabinet, comprised of administrators and presidential advisors. Cabinet member and Vice President for Finance Bonnie Johnson said of their motion, “When we considered John’s history with the university, combined with his knowledge, commitment, and desire to see Penn succeed, he was the logical choice as president as we move forward from this transitional state.”
Members of the Cabinet have been largely responsible for the operational leadership of the University. Over the past 18 months, operations of the University have been examined and strategies were put into place, which allow William Penn to address current and future challenges. The world of higher education is changing, in large part due to the Internet, and William Penn must adapt in order to remain a viable choice for higher education. However, any changes need to be carefully evaluated. Key issues will be: 1.Maintaining academic excellence; 2. Continuing the highly valuable diverse culture on the campus; and 3. Preserving its historic roots.
Moving forward, members of the Board and Cabinet will remain committed to the University’s mission which reads: William Penn University provides the opportunity for an educational experience with a focus on leadership, technology, and the Quaker principles of simplicity, peace-making, integrity, community, and equality.
Ottosson’s leadership style is very much a team approach and he understands any changes going forward will be a team effort. As a former student, he also recognizes the very important role a student’s experience plays in the success and growth of the university. His years as a student were life-changing and he hopes all students have a positive, memorable experience. “Athletics brought me to Penn, but it was the relationships I built with faculty and staff that molded my life and led me to return. The Penn ideal is driven by the belief in the value of everyone. It is that ideal that has allowed us to be diverse from our founding. It is an honor to be part of a team that is committed to continuing that mission.”