Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Francis Achampong announces retirement

Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Announces Retirement

Francis Achampong, who has served as chancellor of Penn State Mont Alto since 2013, has announced his retirement from Penn State, effective June 28.

Credit: Penn State

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Serving 43 years in higher education, 22 at Penn State, Francis Kofi Achampong, chancellor at Penn State Mont Alto, has announced his retirement, effective June 28. Filling roles as director of academic affairs at Penn State Mont Alto (2002-2010), interim chancellor and then chancellor at Penn State Fayette (2010-2013) and, finally, returning to Penn State Mont Alto as chancellor (2013-present), the cornerstones of Achampong’s tenure have been building community among faculty, staff and students; implementing new programs to support students and promote student success; and providing leadership to direct the campuses into the future of learning and career preparedness. 

“Penn State Mont Alto has seen transformational change under Francis Achampong’s leadership,” said Margo DelliCarpini, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor. “Francis’ steadfast commitment to improving the student experience, practicing the values of sustainability, and engaging in the broader community has served to distinguish the college. He worked diligently to create a vibrant campus community where students can thrive in a caring, inclusive and discovery-rich learning environment.”

Known to all as “Dr. A,” Achampong has devoted his career to the success of students, resulting in countless signature initiatives, including: launching a mentoring program for tenure-track faculty; seeing new faculty he hired receive tenure and promotion, including five international faculty; enriching the diversity on campus; collaborating with the Mont Alto Faculty Senate to develop guidelines for hiring and reviewing part-time faculty that became a model for the Commonwealth College, the predecessor of the University College; creating the Jumpstart Program, designed to help newly admitted, underprepared students have a good start with summer online instruction and year-round academic support and mentoring; working with all campus stakeholders at Penn State Fayette to build a sense of community during a tough time of transition after the death of their chancellor; partnering with the director of campus development to help raise more than $4 million in the "For the Future" campaign, 118% over the campaign goal; partnering with the director of campus development at Penn State Mont Alto to raise $7.3 million in the "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence" campaign, 142% of its $5.2 million goal; collaborating with the Penn State Mont Alto campus community to be the first campus to devote a standalone space to student-veterans; and elevating the role of director of athletics to the chancellor’s cabinet, given the role athletics play in student recruitment and retention. Achampong also provided leadership to designate allied health (the health sciences) as Penn State Mont Alto’s niche, offering two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapist Assistant programs, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and plans to add a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health. He spearheaded a $13 million state-of-the-art Allied Health Building that opened in 2022, increasing the campus’ health care degree portfolio to now include a bachelor of science in health policy and administration and a bachelor of science in occupational science, with a master of science in occupational therapy slated to begin in fall 2026. 

In addition to his work on the Mont Alto and Fayette campuses, Achampong has served the University on multiple committees, including the Budget Planning Taskforce, Campus Academic Review Coordinating Committee (CARCC, a subgroup of the Core Council), Middle States Accreditation Committee, Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Standing Joint Committee on Tenure, University Access Committee, Facilities and Academic Units Naming Committee, the Commission on Adult Learners (CAL), and the Facilities Resources Committee. He has chaired the Academic Leadership Council (ALC), the Council of Commonwealth Chancellors (CCC), and CAL. He also has served the community on the Southcentral Workforce Investment Board, Waynesboro Hospital board, the Montessori Academy board, Summit Health’s Finance Committee, and he has volunteered as an adult Sunday school teacher in churches in Chambersburg and Waynesboro.

“Having had the opportunity to work with Dr. A. during his entire tenure at Penn State Mont Alto, I can categorically attest to his leadership and remarkable impact on both the campus and surrounding communities,” said Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corporation and longtime member of the Penn State Mont Alto Advisory Board and the campus’ strategic planning committee. “He led efforts ranging from the creation of new course offerings that more effectively align with local workforce development needs, to advancing entrepreneurism via LaunchBox, to construction of the new $13 million state-of-the-art Allied Health Building. Moreover, Mont Alto consistently exceeded its University campaign goals. But most importantly, Dr. A. has always been student-focused and committed to ensuring that each PSUMA graduate had every opportunity to maximize their individual academic experience. He will be missed.” 

Achampong is a strong believer in the power of education to improve lives and break down barriers. Having contracted polio at an early age while he was growing up in Ghana, he believes his own life is a testament to the power of education. He received his LL.B. (bachelor of laws) degree with second class (upper division) honors from the University of Ghana (the equivalent of magna cum laude), his LL.M. (master of laws) and doctorate degrees from the University of London’s King’s College and the School of Oriental and African Studies, respectively, and a second LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. He received a certificate in Management and Leadership in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and is an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. He is a member of the New York and Virginia bars and duly admitted and qualified as an attorney of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“I am grateful and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented people and to have positively impacted the lives of the students we serve,” said Achampong. “I wish Penn State Mont Alto and Penn State the absolute best.”

Click here to read more about Achampong’s tenure at Penn State