Penn State has tapped a top administrator from its Great Valley campus to expand academic programs at The Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.

James Nemes, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, will add to his duties efforts to increase services to companies in The Navy Yard.

The Navy Yard is home to more than 13,000 employees and 150 companies, including NAVSEA, GlaxoSmithKline, Tasty Baking Company, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Urban Outfitters Inc.

Nemes said the move for a greater presence was planned before the Navy Yard was mentioned as a possible landing spot for Amazon’s second headquarters and its 50,000 jobs.

“That would be 50,000 employees we’d be glad to educate,” Nemes, 61, of Devon, said with a chuckle. “Wouldn’t that be something?”

The move to bring someone from the Great Valley campus was logical since graduate programs from there have been offered to students attending Navy Yard classes. Now, Penn State wants to see if Navy Yard employers would use programs other than the graduate programs offered through Great Valley.

“While Penn State Great Valley has offered a range of programs at The Navy Yard over the years, I am excited to bring the resources of additional Penn State colleges and campuses together to meet those expanding demands,” said Nemes, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering.

Penn State has around 60 students at The Navy Yard taking MBA courses, project management and leadership programs. The classes are offered in two buildings. Penn State started offering classes in The Navy Yard in 2005.

Officials on the Great Valley campus have experience in going out to companies in the region to see what classes they would like to see available for their employees, Nemes noted.

“We’re very experienced with corporate alliances,” Nemes said. “We definitely see the potential for growth there. We want to see if maybe it would make sense to offer classes, say, at lunchtime, for example.”

Located within a corporate park, the Great Valley campus was the first of its kind to offer graduate and professional programs designed exclusively for area employees.

Nemes also will work with Neil Sharkey, Penn State’s vice president for research, to collaborate with Penn State Commonwealth Campuses and University Park colleges as they expand current research efforts and begin to identify new areas for growth and development.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Nemes as we continue to evolve established efforts while initiating new Penn State programs at The Navy Yard. Jim will do a great job of integrating a strong and growing portfolio in research, experiential training and lifelong learning,” said Sharkey.

Penn State Great Valley offers eight master’s degree programs to mostly working professionals who attend classes at night. It also offers a variety of graduate certificates and non-credit professional development courses and certificates. It currently has 1,000 students on its campus near Malvern and online.

– To contact Business Writer Brian McCullough, call 610-235-2655 or send an email to

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