Penn State trustee voting coming to a close

A Penn State University logo on the side of a merchandise trailer outside Beaver Stadium in State College. The university's Board of Trustees is meeting today and Friday. (AP photo)
A Penn State University logo on the side of a merchandise trailer outside Beaver Stadium in State College. The university's Board of Trustees is meeting today and Friday. (AP photo)
Posted: May 03, 2013

 Another highly contested race for three open alumni seats on Pennsylvania State University's board of trustees will come to a close at the end of this week when trustees announce the results of the election.

Thirty-nine candidates - from military leaders to business professionals, retired alumni to the recently graduated - are vying for three seats on the 32-member board, with 26,861 alumni having cast votes as of April 24. Voting closes at 9 a.m. Thursday. A picture, biography, and position statement for each candidate are posted on the board of trustees website.

Like last year, many of the election platforms are based on the child sex-abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, now in prison.

More than a dozen of the candidates mention the late Joe Paterno, who was terminated by the board as head football coach in 2011. Some pledged to work to restore his reputation and honor on campus.

"I want to resurrect the Joe Paterno statue in or around the Paterno Library to reinforce his positive impact on the campus," wrote Christopher R. Owens, Class of 2006, who works as a mobile banking manager.

Many blasted the board for accepting sanctions against the football program by the NCAA and failing to challenge the trustee-commissioned report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that accused the university and its leaders of covering up sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.

"What hasn't happened is the board taking responsibility for flawed decisions and the acceptance of unprecedented and unwarranted NCAA sanctions that affect all university and State College constituents," wrote Mark S. Connolly, Class of 1984, director of intellectual property for DuPont Central Research and Development and a resident of West Chester.

Connolly called on the university to come fully under the state's Right to Know law and open as many records as possible.

Two incumbents are running: Stephanie Nolan Deviney, a lawyer with Fox Rothschild L.L.P. in Exton, who this year became board vice chair, and Paul V. Suhey, an orthopedic surgeon.

Deviney said she was committed to improving transparency.

"During this challenging time I have remained fully dedicated to Penn State and to fulfilling my fiduciary duty as a trustee," she wrote.

Three candidates are being supported by Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, which formed in the wake of the scandal and has been critical of the board. The group endorsed Edward B. Brown III, Class of 1968, a crisis management and communications expert; Barbara L. Doran, Class of 1975, a private wealth portfolio manager; and William F. Oldsey, Class of 1976, who has been in the business of education and education policy.

Two other local candidates are Darlene R. Baker, '80, vice president of operations, PSKW L.L.C., Warminster, and Amy L. Williams, founder and managing director, SageWorks Rx L.L.C., Wayne.

"I vow not to be a blind follower," wrote Baker.

Williams said that her family has maintained a condo in State College since 1980 and that she would apply her skills in marketing and brand management.

Among the other candidates are Ryan Bagwell, Class of 2002, a former newspaper reporter and a software developer who has been investigating the case on his own, and former State Sen. Robert C. Jubelirer, who served in the Senate from 1975 to 2006 and was president pro tempore for 21 years.

Trustees serve three-year terms, beginning July 1. There are nine alumni seats, with three turning over annually. To see a list of candidates, go to: http://www.psu.edu/trustees/vote/2013%20Alumni%20Candidates/index.html

The board also is expected to announce other board appointments. Two seats filled by the agricultural societies are up, those of incumbent Keith Eckel, president of Eckel Farms, and Samuel E. Hayes, who has not sought reappointment. In addition to Eckel, others vying are M. Abraham Harpster, co-owner of Evergreen Farms, and Paul W. Semmel, a former state representative who owns Excelsior Dairy Farm.

Two seats to be filled by business and industry also are up, those of Karen B. Peetz, president of the Bank of New York Mellon, and John Surma, who is not seeking reelection. Peetz is expected to be reappointed, sources said. The board appoints these representatives.


Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693, ssnyder@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq. Read her blog at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/campus_inq/

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