Graham Spanier wants to be president - just of Penn State

No, he doesn’t want to run for public office.

No, he doesn’t expect the state will kick more money over to his school next year.

And, no, the university has not chosen a successor to 84-year-old football coach Joe Paterno.

So said Graham Spanier, president of Penn State since 1995, at the monthly press club luncheon in Harrisburg on Monday.

Spanier joked that he has “all the political intrigue” that he needs in his current position, and that if he has his way, he will stay on as the top guy at Penn State for several more years.

“I believe I have the best job in American higher education,” he told the audience.

The job hasn’t always been easy. Earlier this year, he became one of the most outspoken critics of the steep cuts contained in Gov. Corbett’s budget for higher education. Penn State ended up shouldering a roughly 19 percent cut in state funding: it received $275 million in this fiscal year, down from $334 million in the 2010-11 state budget.

Spanier said he doesn’t expect the magnitude of cuts in the administration’s 2012-13 spending plan, but he’s not exactly optimistic that he will get an increase either.

“Given the revenues coming into the state, it’s very clear that it will continue to be another very difficult budget year,” he said.

On a lighter note, Spanier said despite rampant speculation among sports reporters, the university has not selected an eventual successor to the larger-than-life Paterno.

“Only about half what you read now is correct,” he cracked.

“And I can assure you that when the time comes, we will hire a great football coach,” he added.



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