Dr. Ron W. Darbeau assumed the role of Chancellor of Penn State Altoona in January 2023. As Chancellor, Darbeau serves as the college's chief academic and administrative officer.
Before coming to Penn State Altoona, Darbeau served as vice president for faculty affairs and academic operations at Commonwealth University, the integrated institution of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities that was established in July 2022. There, he served on the president's cabinet and provided leadership for faculty affairs for four campuses of approximately 13,000 students and 800 faculty. He oversaw graduate education and sponsored research, institutional effectiveness and institutional research, libraries, the Clearfield branch campus of Lock Haven University (LHU), and workforce development. He joined LHU as provost and vice president for academic affairs in July 2020.
Prior to LHU, he served as interim dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Arkansas—Fort Smith for the 2019-20 academic year and as dean of the university’s former College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and the School of Education from 2015 to 2020.
His academic career began at McNeese State University in 1996, where he was head of the Department of Chemistry and Physics for the last twelve years of his tenure.
A physical organic chemist, Darbeau has secured more than $2 million in grants for research, research training, infrastructure, and student aid. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers and has mentored over eighty undergraduate and graduate students—many of whom are co-authors of his publications.
A fellow of the American Chemical Society, he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and serves, or has served, on many committees, councils, and boards at the local, state, and national levels—including current appointments with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Regional Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Darbeau holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in chemistry from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus, and both master’s and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University.