WYOMISSING, Pa. -- Penn State Berks Chancellor George Grant Jr. was recently named to the Lehigh Valley Business Power 30 for Higher Education, a list of individuals who hold positions that give them the ability to shape our communities and influence our quality of life through education.
Grant assumed the position of chancellor of Penn State Berks in January 2021, following a national search. In his role, he is responsible for all aspects of college administration, including the quality of academic programs, research, outreach, enrollment and financial aid, student affairs, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, budgeting, philanthropy, and community and alumni relations at the campus.
Growing up in Detroit during the civil rights movement, Grant recognized the power of education at an early age. In addition to his family, he states that many of his role models were teachers in the congregation of his church.
He explains that his career centers around the belief in the power of education and “the role I must play in making it a realization for everyone, especially disenfranchised communities.”
Grant enrolled at Marygrove College in Detroit, where he earned a baccalaureate degree in social work. After graduation, he accepted a position in child welfare. His work was noticed by Grand Valley State University, near Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was asked to work on a child welfare project. The project involved some teaching, combining his two passions. He continued to teach at Grand Valley while earning his master’s degree at the university in sociology, and then his doctorate from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Meanwhile, he progressed in his career, rising to the position of dean and professor at Grand Valley’s College of Community and Public Service.
Grant said that the thing that jumped out at him as he read about Penn State Berks was the college’s commitment to students and to the community. “There was a commitment not to self, but to others. Penn State Berks is willing to work with students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to help them earn a college degree, and the college has a strong commitment to diversity. I was also impressed by all the things that people are doing at the college. People are passionate about their work at Penn State Berks.”
When asked about his objectives, he stated that one of his main goals is to grow the college’s role in the community, with an emphasis on reaching out to those in economically disadvantaged areas. He wants Penn State Berks to be seen as the place where community members can come for support.
Grant serves on the board of Penn State Health St. Joseph, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and the United Way of Berks County and is a member of the Berks Alliance.