The Pennsylvania State University has named Stephen S. Dunham its new vice president and general counsel. Dunham joins the college from Johns Hopkins University, where he has been vice president and general counsel for the past seven years.

Dunham will step in for Cynthia Baldwin, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and Duane Morris partner. Baldwin, who has held the position since 2010. Baldwin announced her resignation in January.

As the head of the legal department, Dunham will have his work cut out for him. The school and many of its senior staff have been at the center of a media frenzy centered on allegations that its former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky molested multiple children while employed at the university. In November 2011, authorities arrested and charged Sandusky with 50 counts of child sex abuse. He is out on bail, awaiting trial.

Baldwin had worked closely with Penn State administrators who testified last year during a grand jury investigation into the allegations. Penn State faces significant liability if civil suits are brought against it in connection with the case. But that doesn’t seem to deter Dunham from the challenges he faces in his new position.

“I have long thought that being the general counsel for a major research university is the best legal job in the country, and Penn State is a major research university with attributes that make it particularly attractive, including its academic excellence, land grant status, Division I athletics, major academic medical center, law school, and its international scope and reputation as a school with a strong future,” Dunham told

Dunham’s position is currently pending approval of the university’s board of trustees, which plans to meet in July.

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