One of Penn State’s top administrators will step down from his position to become a full-time employee of Penn State’s College of Communications next semester.
Bill Mahon, current Vice President of University Relations, will begin his new role as a journalism and public relations professor in January.
He wrote in an email that he would begin teaching journalism and public relations classes starting in the spring semester and plans to teach for several years.
Penn State University Relations has recently been named the No. 1 departmentin social media across the country by a Unigo (http://www.unigo.com/Rankings/RankingDetails.aspx?RankingId=32&Ordinal=1&Year=2013) report — ranking above Yale University, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — under Mahon’s supervision and influence.
For more than five years, Mahon served as the vice president, previously holding the title of assistant vice president, according to an article on Penn State Live.
During his time as assistant vice president, Mahon served as the number two to then-vice president Steve MacCarthy, who now serves as the Vice President of University Communications for the University of Pennsylvania.
MacCarthy commended Mahon for his work in the department saying that he was one of the first administrators in the country to get out in front and “aggressively engage” in the social media environment in the very beginning.
“[Mahon] has always been the most creative in our field in the use of technology,” MacCarthy said.
The university relations department — which is comprised of marketing, public information, internet communications, campus and community affairs and research communications — under Mahon’s reign was the first to create an electronic newswire for Penn State. Other universities have since adopted a similar method of communication.
Mahon’s transition to the College of Communications will come with several years of experience in the field, something that MacCarthy said no one else in the field has been through.
Though he has been in the university relations department for 28 years, Mahon had started his communications career in the newspaper industry 10 years before he began working for the university, according to Penn State Live.
Penn State’s Facebook page, which is spearheaded by university relations, has nearly 280,000 likes, one of the top counts in the Unigo report. Penn State’s Twitter handles — @penn_state and @pennstatelive — and YouTube channel are also to be commended.
“We're really proud of that effort and have some more big social media plans ahead for Penn State,” Mahon wrote in a separate email.
University Spokeswoman Lisa Powers also had great things to say about her supervisor.
“His foray into teaching is not an unexpected step and I think that students will benefit from his knowledge of public relations and higher-level interactions,” Powers wrote in an email.
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