Staff Writer: Kristin Schrecengost
Clarion University prepares to say farewell to Dr. Todd Pfannestiel, who has accepted a
position as provost at Utica College in New York.
Dr. Pfannestiel, interim provost at Clarion University, accepted the position of provost
and senior vice president of academic affairs at Utica College in New York and will begin June
“I’ll have a little more responsibility there than I have here. Which is, I wouldn’t say
scary, it’s exciting; you don’t really know what’s next. I live on that excitement, it’s rich, and it’s
going to be really fun,” Pfannestiel said.
According to Utica College professor Laura Casamento, Pfannestiel emerged from a
strong pool of qualified candidates as the right person to be Utica’s next chief academic officer.
Pfannestiel has been at Clarion University for 20 years, beginning as a history professor
in 1998. In 2011, he held a two-year appointment as faculty fellow for planning, assessment and
Pfannestiel became Dean of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences in 2014,
serving for two years until the provost left and Pfannestiel became interim provost.
He also served as Clarion’s acting president after the departure of Dr. Karen Whitney in September until
Peter Fackler was appointed interim president in November.
“It’s exciting to reach that point of my career 20 years in that I had to decide, ‘do I want
to finish my entire career at Clarion, or do I want to explore opportunities,’” Pfannestiel said.
Fackler stated that Pfannestiel’s accomplishments and contributions speak for
themselves, asserting that he is universally liked and respected.
Pfannestiel advised several student groups, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, Ice
Hockey Club, Tau Kapp Epsilon fraternity and the History Club.
August Kraus, president of the History Club, said “Dr.Todd was always one of our
biggest supporters and was always willing to help the club. He was involved most notably in our
annual ghost event; it was very much his event, and we are honored to have worked with him.”
“When I was still head of the history club, I was working with history students and they
wanted to find some activity that they could do in October. So we started the ghost stories, here
at Clarion,” said Pfannestiel.
Pfannestiel also participated in Clarion’s Theatre department and acted in seven
“To be at the rehearsals with students who have jobs and full class schedules and things
you have got to do, but then to carve out three hours a night to rehearse for five weeks before
you go on stage. To watch what they did was amazing,” Pfannestiel said.
“The students always enjoyed working with him, it was fun to have him around
rehearsals,” said Robert Bullington, professor of acting.
As Pfannestiel prepares for his new position, he reminisced about his time at Clarion.
“One of my best memories I’ll always have of Clarion is having that experience with the
students,” Pfannestiel said.