Taliaferro seeks position on Penn State Board of Trustees

Taliaferro
Taliaferro
Posted: January 12, 2012

FORMER PENN STATE cornerback Adam Taliaferro, whose rehabilitation from a potentially crippling spinal-cord injury suffered in a 2000 game at Ohio State became one of the most inspirational stories in the Nittany Lions' proud football history, has announced his candidacy for election to his alma mater's Board of Trustees.

"Penn State has been great to me and I want to do anything I can to be of service now that it is experiencing some adversity," Taliaferro, an attorney and motivational speaker who turned 30 on Jan. 1, said when asked about his decision to run for another office so soon after voters elected him to the Gloucester (N.J.) County Board of Chosen Freeholders in November. He was sworn in on Jan. 6.

In addition to his legal and political duties, Taliaferro helps raise about $80,000 annually for victims of spinal-cord injuries through the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, which was created in 2001.

He said he has already received the 50 nominating signatures necessary to get him on the ballot for the April election of the board. Three new members will be chosen.

"I'm hoping to get a lot of support from alumni, and not just because I have some name recognition," Taliaferro said. "I think it's similar [to running for the Gloucester County post]. People want to know who, and what, they're voting for. I want Penn Staters to know what my ideas are, and I plan on getting that word out in the next couple of days."

Taliaferro said that while he has no doubt that all current members of the Board of Trustees "truly care about Penn State," he believes the "unique situation" of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, the late-night firing of iconic coach Joe Paterno and the drawn-out search to find Paterno's full-time successor might have resulted in some missteps.

"The circumstances, I'm sure, were tough on everyone," Taliaferro said. "I know some of the trustees, and I believe there is a feeling that some things should have been handled differently. I know I wish some things had been handled differently."

It disturbed Taliaferro that Paterno, who was so supportive of him during his rehabilitation, learned of his firing by telephone.

"Coach Paterno is someone who has meant a lot to me and I respect thoroughly," he said. "I'm sure no one expected it to end that way for Joe, to not even be contacted in person. It caught a lot of us by surprise.

"Now, Penn Staters need to band together to support the university and the Board of Trustees, and to maybe bring some new ideas to the table. That's why I'm running. I'm looking forward to working with the trustees. I think we can do some good things. It just seems like a good time for me to become more involved."

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