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Credit: Zach Sheldon

Vice Dean and CFO of the Wharton School and 1984 Wharton graduate Harlan Sands will leave Wharton to become the seventh president at Cleveland State University.

The decision comes after current CSU President Ronald Berkman announced his decision to retire last June after leading the school for nine years.

"I'm excited to be here. This is such a unique opportunity for someone with my background in the public sphere," Sands said in an interview to "My whole career has pointed to this moment.”

Harlan Sands

Sands added that he has known Berkman for decades, which is what attracted him to CSU.

Sands joined Wharton in March 2017 after working at the University of Louisville. At Wharton, Sands heads all financial and administrative functions, including Facilities and Operations, Wharton Computing, WRDS, and Humans Resources. Sands also works in collaboration with University leadership to guide Wharton's strategic priorities.

Sands, whose tenure at CSU begins July 1, will make $455,000 a year — $5,000 more than Berkman and $3,000 more than he currently makes at Wharton, reported His salary will be supplemented by yearly performance bonuses equal to 20 percent of his annual salary and, beginning in 2020, annual retention bonuses. Prior to assuming presidency at CSU, Sands will receive between $75,000 and $125,000 for his consulting services during the transition period.

Sands earned his bachelor's degree at Wharton. While at Wharton, he participated in Reserve Officer Training Corps, after which he served in the military for more than 10 years. He received two Naval Commendation Medals during Operation Desert Storm and a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for the Space Shuttle Challenger recovery. Sands also served as an assistant public defender in Miami.

In his time at Penn, Sands has worked with Penn students and allocated resources for student needs. In an email announcement, Sands explained that the motivation for replacing Bridge Café with the international sandwich chain Pret A Manger was to “listen to our students, and offer the kind of healthy options they desire.”

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