"I'm looking forward to building on the reputation of the Ogontz campus in the immediate community and in the Philadelphia area," said Fusaro, 52. "We want to serve the needs of the population in that area (and) increase our contacts and cooperative efforts with business, industry and other professional organizations in the greater Philadelphia area."
The growing demand that the campus executive officer become more involved in outside activities was one reason Bernoff decided to return to full-time teaching after 10 years as chief campus officer.
"When I took the position, my responsibility was to run this place. . . . Now there is a different focus," Bernoff said. "I think the university will be better served by someone new. Ten years is long enough. I have great confidence in Dr. Fusaro. I think he will be very good for the university."
As assistant provost at Northern Illinois, Fusaro gained experience that will serve him well in his new job. He supervised the $85 million academic budget of the 25,000-student school, the assignment of classroom space, all academic civil service personnel, media services and the Oregon-branch campus of the university.
Since Jan. 1, he also has been acting director of the school's cooperative education program. "I'm quite busy," he said.
Fusaro is a native of Coventry, R.I. He attended the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics in 1958 and a master's degree in American government and public administration in 1959. In 1962, Fusaro received a doctorate in political science from Penn State.
He joined the faculty of Penn State as an instructor immediately after earning his doctorate. Between 1964 and 1966, he was an assistant professor of political science at both the Ogontz campus and at University Park. Fusaro began his 24-year stay at Northern Illinois University in 1966. He became assistant chairman of the political science department in 1968, serving for nine years. Fusaro was appointed assistant provost in 1978.
"My experience has prepared me for this new challenge, and I'm ready to take it," Fusaro said.
According to Bernoff, Fusaro's challenge is one that is being faced by officials at many public universities and colleges across the country: how to accomplish things with limited funds.
Bernoff had wearied of that constant struggle and missed full-time teaching, research and writing. He always managed to keep one foot in the classroom, however, teaching an introductory chemistry course each fall.
"I've always enjoyed teaching more than anything else I've done," said Bernoff, 57. "Of late, I found it frustrating with the budget and increasing time demands. After a while, you're doing the same thing eight times in a row, and you kind of lose the fresh view. I thought it would be better for me and for the university if I returned to teaching with some new vigor and the university got some fresh blood."
Bernoff, a Philadelphia native, joined the faculty of Penn State in 1962 as an assistant professor of chemistry at the Ogontz campus. He has spent his entire career with the university at the 3,500-student Abington branch of Penn State. In 1979, he became campus executive officer after serving one year as the acting executive officer.
"I really wasn't interested in the job, but after the one year, I thought, 'This is really an interesting job, and I can get a lot done.' So I decided I was interested, applied and got it," said Bernoff, of Dresher.
"There are two major aspects to this job - dealing with people and the mechanics of budget, buildings and all that," he continued. "Dr. Fusaro has a nice combination of experience, skills and personality that will connect well with the campus community and the neighborhood as well."
Fusaro is looking forward to his return.
"I'm an alumnus of Penn State. I got my doctorate there in 1962. I taught at the Ogontz campus. I'm a Rhode Islander, and I like the East," Fusaro said, "But most of all, I wanted the job because it will be exciting and a challenge."