Hurley to Retire from Penn State Auxiliary and Business Services

Gail A. Hurley
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Gail Ann Hurley, associate vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services (A&BS), will retire from Penn State as of June 30, 2017.

Hurley has served in various positions within Penn State’s Student Affairs, Residence Life, and A&BS for more than 32 years. In her most recent role, Hurley provides vision, leadership, strategic planning, and oversight for seven administrative units: the Bryce Jordan Center, Hospitality Services, Housing and Food Services, Multimedia and Print Center, Procurement Services, Transportation Services, and University Park Airport.

Most recently, she led an ambitious initiative to improve residence hall housing at University Park and several commonwealth campuses, through renovations or new construction. Throughout the process, while gathering input from various stakeholders, Hurley made it a priority to ask students for feedback. “We found out what they were missing, what they needed and wanted,” she says. “We included our students in the process and they continue to help us. These facilities will impact our students’ experiences far into the future, and I’m proud of that.”

Student engagement is a recurring theme throughout Hurley’s career. After transitioning from Student Affairs, which involved daily interaction with students, she worked to bring students and directors together for meetings each semester and encouraged A&BS units to meet with students frequently and create internships and part-time employment opportunities.

“Interacting and working with students has always brought me joy and satisfaction,” she says. “Auxiliary and Business Services is a collection of support units, but at the end of the day, we work in higher education. Whether you’re buying test tubes or running a fleet vehicle or providing food or running a hotel, it’s about the students. When my job no longer involved advising the Association of Residence Hall Students or the National Residence Hall Honorary, or dealing with a crisis in a residence hall at two or three in the morning, I made sure to find ways to engage with students.”

Hurley’s dedication to students was recognized recently, when the Penn State On-Campus Mentor Alumni Interest Group (PSOM AIG) established an endowed scholarship in her name. The Gail A. Hurley Leadership Scholarship will recognize and provide a stipend to students who are actively engaged in leadership and service within residence life at Penn State.

The group established the scholarship because Hurley was an important advocate, mentor, and friend to many of them during their student leadership experiences at Penn State. “It’s humbling and touching that this idea came from a group of young people who had reason to remember me,” Hurley says. “The scholarship is an affirmation of the value, meaning, and purposefulness of my work, and I am most grateful for that.”

“Especially noteworthy about Gail’s career is she has always been dedicated to nurturing, encouraging, and mentoring both student leaders and her staff members,” says Diane Andrews, assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life. “There are so many people who credit Gail and share how their Penn State experience and careers as well as their lives have been impacted by knowing and working with her. Throughout her career, Gail has shown an unwavering commitment to making Penn State a better place for the students, employees, and customers she serves.”

Reflecting on her Penn State career, Hurley is struck by the hard work and professionalism she has witnessed throughout A&BS. “It’s been inspiring to witness the many dedicated professionals behind the scenes—to see their expertise and the selfless way they work together as a team,” she says. “Most people don’t realize what it takes to get the mail delivered, to procure a piece of equipment, to host a beautiful wedding at one of our properties, or to bring a concert to the Bryce Jordan Center. The people that I have had the absolute privilege of working with give their all.”

Throughout many changes in 32 years—changes in process, organization, delivery mechanisms, and technology—Hurley is proud of the accomplishments of A&BS staff as they work to collaborate, share resources, and find new efficiencies. “Penn State is a big place—people come and go. What remains the same is something I noticed from the day I first set foot on this campus: People believe in this place and they work hard to contribute to its success. The loyalty our employees and alumni have for this place, even in the most difficult times, hasn’t wavered. That has been the consistent core that allows us to work through changes and challenges.”

David Gray, senior vice president for Finance & Business, has witnessed the respect Hurley has garnered in her years at Penn State. “Throughout her Penn State career, Gail has devoted herself to excellence in service to students, faculty, and staff,” he says. “She is admired by all with whom she has come in contact. While her accomplishments are too numerous to mention, I believe her crowning achievement has been the planning for—and now the execution of—the multi-year renewal of Penn State’s largest residence hall areas. Students will benefit from her vision and dedication for decades to come.”

Stan Latta, former assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life, has worked with Hurley for most of her Penn State career. “I can think of no other professional with whom I've worked who has had a greater impact upon the quality of student life and the student experience at Penn State than Gail,” he says. “Her commitment to students and the professional development of her staff are second to none. Her thoughtful guidance, caring, and mentoring have contributed to the success of so many professionals within higher education. While she will be missed, her contributions to Penn State will ensure the success of our students for decades to come. I am pleased to be able to call Gail a mentor, colleague, and dear friend.” 

“It was a pleasure working for and with Gail,” adds Rich Pearce, former assistant vice president for A&BS. “I am truly blessed to have her as a colleague and friend. Her leadership of A&BS has been extraordinary. She is all about people and is well respected by our students, staff, colleagues, and Penn State's leadership. Penn State is a much better place because of all that Gail has done.”

For Hurley, retirement from Penn State doesn’t mean good-bye. “I can’t call myself an alum but I feel like one,” she says, “and I want to figure out how I can continue to be a part of Penn State, on a volunteer basis, in retirement. This place has been very good to me, and I don’t think I’m finished giving yet.”


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