Larry D. Terry II, executive director of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia and professor at the Batten School of Public Policy, has been selected as the vice president for outreach at Penn State University. His appointment begins Jan 23, 2023.

Founded in 1931 to serve local and state government in Virginia, the Weldon Cooper Center delivers public impact research and leadership development in service to democracy and is an affiliate of the Karsh Institute.

"Larry will be greatly missed. In his time here, he has reimagined the Cooper Center’s potential and redefined how the University can positively impact democracy at the local and regional level,” said vice provost for outreach Louis Nelson. “Larry nurtured a collective vision of inclusive public service that is a key component of the University’s commitment to flourishing communities across the Commonwealth. I look forward to his accomplishing great things at Penn State.” 

As executive director, Terry focused on delivering targeted, unbiased, non-partisan public impact research and leadership development services across the state, provisioned from five different units: the Center for Survey Research, the Demographics Research Group, the Center for Economic & Policy Studies, the Virginia Institute of Government, and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. Terry managed a $6.5 million annual budget and undertook the Center’s first comprehensive strategic plan, led by the Center’s values of access, collaboration, community, and impact.  From the Center’s timely and meaningful training and consulting programs, to the data and assistance the Center provides to policymakers, Terry ensured that the Center has a meaningful road map to move the Weldon Cooper Center forward. 

As vice president for Penn State Outreach, Terry will manage all outreach and engagement activities across Penn State campuses and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Outreach oversees a broad portfolio of extension courses; holds workshops, conferences, and contract programs in support of professional and personal growth; and offers experiential learning programs.

Before his position at the University of Virginia, Terry served as founding director of the SERCH Institute at the University of North Texas, Dallas. SERCH (Service, Education and Research for Communities with Hope) offers training and community-engaged scholarship to improve the social, economic and community well-being of the southern region of Dallas. 

As a professor of public policy, Terry’s research interests include incarceration and police-community relations in the United States. In Dallas he served as a member of the Second Chance Community Improvement Program team (created to reduce incarceration through targeted interventions), and in 2017 launched the Community Leadership Academy in partnership with the Dallas Police Department. While at UVA, he was appointed by former Governor Ralph Northam to the Virginia State Crime Commission, created to address critical criminal justice reform efforts. He has served on the board of Charlottesville’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence from 2019-2022 and is currently the president of the Consortium of University Public Service Organizations (CUPSO), which he will continue to lead in his new role. 

Larry Terry headshot

“I see the Weldon Cooper Center as really defining ‘democracy in action,’. The Center is poised to add new research and training services that translate to a comprehensive set of deliverables for leaders and policymakers statewide and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated team than my Weldon Cooper Center colleagues and I will always be appreciative of our time together in serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. Working with them and our many partners across the state undoubtedly prepared me for this exciting new opportunity.”


Larry D. Terry II, Executive Director
Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service