Physical Asset Optimization Workstream

Physical Asset Optimization Workstream Banner featuring pic of Old Main

Since July 2017, a  University  task force has been studying the affordability of a Penn State degree and examining ways to best manage costs and improve quality while striving to fulfill strategic initiatives. In 2018, leaders from the University’s Board of Trustees and Administration hired Huron Consulting Group to identify potential opportunities for optimizing University resources and ensuring strategic priorities are met in the most efficient ways possible.  ​

The Physical Asset Optimization workstream is tasked with developing recommendations around optimizing Penn State’s physical assets and investigating the alignment of various efforts, services, and resources with Penn State’s core teaching, research, and outreach functions. The team has recommended that the University gather and analyze data around potential efficiencies that could be realized through alternative approaches to the University’s  hotels and corporate sponsorships.  Three working groups were created to help implement recommendations:​


Corporate Sponsorships Working Group

The Corporate Sponsorship working group is designed to bring all the university’s internal stakeholders to the table in a way that will allow for the most comprehensive approach to corporate sponsorship agreements that secure the best service or product at the best price and also foster and provide revenue streams for more collaborative and comprehensive university-industry partnerships. 

Executive Sponsor: Sara Thorndike, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer
Co-Chairs: Melissa Erekson, Assistant Vice President for Corporate Engagement & Scott Sidwell, Deputy Director of Athletics - External

Hotels Working Group

In May 2021, Penn State engaged the Rieth Jones Advisors (RJA) to begin exploring options regarding the Penn Stater Hotel and The Nittany Lion Inn, including keeping and renovating the properties; divesting and ground leasing them; or variations on these options. The examination of the two hotels is taking into account ongoing operational costs — including a sizable and costly maintenance backlog — the need for renovations to continuously meet guest expectations and industry standards, along with growth and intense competition in the local and regional hotel market. The working group and RJA are expected to make their final recommendations by mid-2022. 

Executive Sponsor: Sara Thorndike, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer
Chair: John Papazoglou, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary and Business Services

Learn More



  • Working group examining hotel operations, strategic operations (October 2021) - Read More