“Academic Heisman” to Urschel: What else is there to say about John Urschel? The “mathematician/guard,” as the headline on this USA Today story called him, received a particularly prestigious honor Tuesday night—the William V. Campbell trophy, given to college football’s top scholar-athlete by the National Football Foundation. (If you need a refresher, one of the earlier long profiles about Urschel, by Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record, is good reading.) Steven J. Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation, said that Urschel “represents everything that is right about college football.” At this point, let’s just hear from Urschel ’12, ’13g himself: Click here for this acceptance speech. It is, of course, terrific.
Workin’ on the railroad: I’m not a huge fan of Google alerts, but I will admit that when they work, they are amazing. I did not know that Penn State Altoona is the only university in the country offering a four-year degree in rail transportation engineering until I read this piece from Progressive Railroading, which details the program and why it’s important: “Penn State launched the degree three years ago at the urging of railroad and transit executives who noted the need for more education and training designed for future railroaders.” Three years ago, the program enrolled its first nine students, and with a little word of mouth, they’ve got 19 more freshmen and sophomores.
Health care back in the news: The Faculty Senate met Tuesday, and the hot topic was Penn State’s health care program, which received national attention this fall, first because it used sticks rather than carrots to spur employees toward healthy habits, then because of the controversy over whether employees were required to disclose too much personal information. That program was modified, and the university has appointed a committee to examine the issue, but the Faculty Senate still isn’t thrilled with how the committee is constituted.
Nearing the end: President Rod Erickson seems to be doing a series of end-of-semester interviews; he spoke with with Christian Heilman of the Centre County Report, and an interview with him is the top story in today’s Collegian. He says his final semester as president will be “bittersweet.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
For some people, getting ready for a wrestling match in the Bryce Jordan Center probably meant some changes in routine. The ticket office, for instance, had more than double the number of tickets to sell compared to regular old matches in Rec Hall. And the fire marshal apparently had to determine if enough people to break the NCAA record for dual match attendance could fit safely into the BJC.
For the wrestlers and coaches? No big deal, unless you count weighing in at Rec Hall and then taking vans to the match across campus. “A wrestling mat’s a wrestling mat, wherever it is,” coach Cael Sanderson said. “Whether people are watching you or not, you should be the same person.”
That said, Sunday’s 28-9 victory over Pitt at the BJC was hardly routine.
It did have an NCAA atmosphere, with a the mat on a raised platform (“It makes a pretty sweet sound when you pick the guy up and slam him down on it,” said 184-pounder Wes Phipps, who knows because he did it), the wrestlers being followed by a spotlight as they ran onto the mat, where the Nittany Lions’ names were beamed onto the mat (last names except for Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford, who were apparently too long), and athletic trainer Dan Monthley wearing a tie, the kind of wardrobe adornment he saves for the biggies.
The weather likely kept some fans home—not every seat was filled—but the announced attendance, 15,996, not only broke the NCAA record for a dual-meet crowd (15,955, at a 2008 match between Iowa and Iowa State), but it was also (more…)
Road to Seattle: Senior women’s volleyball players Deja McClendon, Katie Slay, and Ariel Scott began their Penn State careers with a national title—they were freshmen when the Nittany Lions won the last of their four consecutive national titles in 2010. They’re hoping to end their careers in the same way. The Nittany Lions open NCAA tournament play in Rec Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight against LIU-Brooklyn. The winner of that game will face Yale or Utah, which play tonight at 5, on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are seeded No. 2 overall, and they’re a blast to watch.
Art and football: What is it with Penn State football players and the art world? Former defensive end Matthew Rice is making a name for himself as a mural painter, and now here’s former defensive end Aaron Maybin, whose NFL career never really took off after he left Penn State early in 2009 with an exhibition at Art Basel, a big-deal festival in Miami that’s going on right now. In this video, Maybin discusses the relationship between football and art, saying he gets the “same joy” creating art as he gets from athletic competition, that he believes an artist is “the truest version of a storyteller that still exists,” and that he’s ready to paint when “I’m tormented by an idea.” There’s some adult language, but it’s an interesting conversation. And you can check out some of his work here.
Yoga with Doug: I love that Onward State decided to write about Doug Hayward, teacher of the only Penn State fitness class that has a name attached to it—yes, Yoga With Doug, which is not to be confused with any other yoga classes around here. I was lucky enough to take an on-campus class from Doug a couple of summers ago, and it is truly an experience. I spent half the time in awe of the way he contorted his body (and he didn’t need a mat!) and the other half learning that my body was capable of way more than I’d realized. If you’re in town, you can always check out the offerings at his State College studio, too.
Big stage: One of the cool things about covering Penn State’s wrestling team is the atmosphere in sold-out Rec Hall, which is always packed with fans who know the sport and who can be loud when the occasion calls for it. We’ll see this weekend what that fan base can do in a larger arena—the Bryce Jordan Center, which is sold out for Sunday’s match against Pitt. That’s 15,000 wrestling fans. This also gives me the chance to quote the most entertaining two paragraphs I’ve read this week, from the last item in the weekly notebook by Centre Daily Times wrestling writer Travis Johnson ’09:
“The plan is to have our guys running out like they do at the nationals and just kind of having fun with it,” Sanderson said. “There’s been talk of fireworks and cannons and those kind of things. I’ve kind of lost track of what they’re doing. We talked about it a couple of months ago. I think that’s the plan.”
A Penn State spokesman said pyrotechnics would not likely be used.
The wrestling team is warming up for that spotlight match in an awesome way—competing tonight at Boston University, which is dropping its team at the end of this season. When Sanderson, who’s been an ambassador and advocate for the sport asked the BU coach if there were anything to he could do to help, the coach asked if Penn State could come up and wrestle them. So Penn State is, and it’s hoping the attention will help to save the program.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Underdogs? 24-point underdogs? I’ll admit it: I was one of the doubters. I was the lector at Saturday night Mass, and I never dreamed that when I came out of church, the Nittany Lions would be on the verge of defeating No. 15 Wisconsin. I missed the entire second half, so I had a lot of catching up to do when I got home. Here’s what I did: watched this video from the locker room, this video of Bill O’Brien’s news conference, read this piece by Dave Jones of The Patriot-News about freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns and is racking up all kinds of recognition, and checked out John McGonigal’s game story in the Collegian.
Looking to the future: Can’t wait for next football season? Get ready now by checking out this analysis by Mark Wogenrich ’90 of The Morning Call and this New York Times story about the future of the Big Ten, which adds Maryland and Rutgers—and a new division configuration—next season.
In other sports: The men’s soccer team lost 2-0 to New Mexico in the Sweet 16, but it finished the season with a 13-6-2 record and with a long road trip—nearly 5,000 miles in the air, 600 on the road in the NCAA tournament. … The women’s volleyball team finished its regular season with a four-set victory over long-time nemesis Nebraska in a match-up of two Top 10 programs in Lincoln, and it will, as usual, open the NCAA tournament at home, 7:30 p.m. Friday against LIU Brooklyn. … The men’s basketball team advanced to the final of the Barclays Center Classic but fell to Ole Miss, 79-76, despite 23 points from D.J. Newbill. … Tournament MVP Maggie Lucas led the women’s basketball team to the championship of the Junkajoo Jam in the Bahamas, where the players also scored some quality time with some friendly dolphins.
Legal update: A couple of months ago, former president Graham Spanier requested “a bill of particulars,” regarding the charges he is facing in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. The prosecution answered last week, and although most of Spanier’s requests were denied, the lawyers did provide a list of what they called Spanier’s false statements in his April 2011 testimony before a grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky ’67, ’71g. Charlie Thompson of The Patriot-News does a nice job here summarizing the legalese. Next up in the case against Spanier, Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g, and Tim Curley ’76, ’78g: a hearing on several pre-trial matters, including the defense’s motion to quash the testimony of former university council Cynthia Baldwin ’66, ’74g, is scheduled for the week of Dec. 16.
“Mom away from home:” That’s what the two-time national champion Lionettes dance team members call Sue Cacciotti Sherburne ’95g, ’09g, their director, who’s also assistant director of the Morgan Academic Support System for athletes. Chris Rosenblum of the Centre Daily Times writes that Sherburne “gives the Lionettes tools for moving through life as well as they do through space.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
To the moon! We hope you read about Lunar Lion, the team of Penn State faculty, students, and alumni working to land a spacecraft on the moon by 2015, in our Nov./Dec. issue. The program announced a milestone this week: It has paid its launch reservation fee to Team Phoenicia LLC, which Bobby Chen of Onward State, who does a nice job translating science for lay readers, calls “basically a carpooling service for rockets.” This saves money for Lunar Lion, and the team’s leader, Michael Paul, explained: “Now we only have to target a fraction of that cost for launch and can apply our energy and funding to other areas of the mission.”
Boon for law students: Penn State Dickinson School of Law announced this week a new program called the Commonwealth Scholars Program, which will provide renewable annual grants of $20,000 to law students whose primary residence is Pennsylvania. Onward State called the announcement “incredible news” and noted the law school’s recent accomplishments and recognitions, while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that a decline in law-school applications likely factored into the program. The grant is renewable for all three years of law school—a potential savings of $60,000—and Commonwealth Scholars are still eligible for other grants and financial aid.
“American underdog vs. America’s team:” The underdog in this ESPN.com headline is none other than Matt McGloin ’12, who will be starting at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys—i.e., America’s Team. His amazing journey from walk-on at Penn State to undrafted rookie to starting NFL quarterback continues. I had to laugh at this line in the piece: “You have to wonder if the moment will be too big for him.” Yeah, I don’t think so. I guess the national media is still learning what we’ve found out over the past couple of years: Never, ever count out Matt McGloin. Maybe this game will raise McGloin’s profile a little more so that broadcasters such as Mike Francesca can get his name right.
And, of course, turkey tips: There’s “one thing you don’t want to share on Thanksgiving,” the College of Agricultural Science reminds us: “pathogenic bacteria.” Martin Bucknavage, a food-safety specialist for Penn State extension, weighs in with tips on how to clean, prepare, and cook your Thanksgiving turkey:
Enjoy your holidays! We’ll be back Monday, Dec. 2.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Weekend sports recap: Another home game in Beaver Stadium, another overtime. It’s getting to be routine. This time, however, Nebraska defeated the Nittany Lions, although David Jones of The Patriot-News points out that Penn State always plays hard, and unlike most other teams, it doesn’t have any room for error. … A cross-country flight didn’t bother the men’s soccer team, which advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 1-0 victory over UC-Santa Barbara. Next up: seventh-seed New Mexico, on the road, Dec. 1. … The No. 2 women’s volleyball team won its 17th consecutive match and clinched a share of the Big Ten title over the weekend as it honored seniors Ariel Scott, Deja McClendon, and Katie Slay. … Brandon Taylor’s career-high 25 points led the men’s basketball team over Longwood. … For the third consecutive season, the wrestling team opened its schedule by raising the NCAA championship banner. It then won eight of 10 matches—one by pin, two by tech fall—to beat Lock Haven 34-6.
Born to help children: In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, the university made a commitment to increase its research on child abuse and outreach to victims. The result: the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which is led by Jennie Noll, who came to Penn State as part of a group hire to beef up the university’s experts in the field. Jack Small, a Penn State journalism student who is writing for the Centre Daily Times as part of an advanced news writing class this semester (and, full disclosure, one of my former students), did a great job profiling Noll and tracing her path to Penn State. “Part of the reason I decided to join Penn State is because of the efforts I saw the school making after the scandal,” she said. “The only silver lining out of that terrible situation is that we now have a great opportunity to do some good.”
Final bow for feature twirler: Matt Freeman’s high school principal told him there was no way he could ever achieve his goal—becoming the feature twirler for the Penn State Blue Band. Goes to show what that principal knew. Freeman gave his final Beaver Stadium appearance Saturday, and Sue Snyder of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a nice piece about his rise to prominence—and a world championship.
Oldsey named to presidential selection council: A surprise announcement began Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting: Bill Oldsey ’76 was named to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, meaning another trustee elected by alumni and another trustee with experience in higher education will be part of the group that interviews finalists for the president’s job. The search has been extended, but trustees say a new president will be hired before Rod Erickson retires June 30, 2014.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
As far as Bill Oldsey ’76 was concerned, the reason he was added to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council was simple. “Some thought I might be able to add value to the process,” he said. “This is all about getting a world-class leader for this university, and I am proud and pleased to do anything I can to help contribute to that.”
The surprise announcement of Oldsey’s appointment, which kicked off Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, followed what seemed to be several weeks of discussion about the composition of the selection council. Anthony Lubrano ’82 had complained publicly about the fact that only one trustee elected by alumni was on the council, and a good part of Thursday’s meeting of the governance and long-range planning committee was devoted to the presidential search process.
The trustees had originally hoped to vote on a successor to Rod Erickson around this time, but the board’s apparent finalist turned out to have padded his compensation at SUNY’s Upstate Medical School. Board chair Keith Masser ’73 said adding an additional member to the selection council had been discussed “since we’ve re-set the process, kind of.” He cited the need to reflect the latest additions to the board, who joined after the selection council had been chosen, and he said the specific decision was made because of Oldsey’s “unique experience.”
Oldsey was elected to the board by alumni in 2013 (he also ran in 2012), and he was endorsed by Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship, which has been highly critical of the board’s handling of the Sandusky scandal and more recently of the presidential search process.
He also is one of the few members of the board with a strong background in higher education; Oldsey has worked in educational publishing for 30 years, and his parents were, as he put it, “both academicians.” Said Oldsey, “That’s one of the things I think that made me an interesting candidate when I ran last year.”
Only one other trustee, Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62, has significant experience in higher education; she spent 15 years as executive director and president of the Public Leadership Education Network. (The university president, of course, has higher education experience, but that’s no longer a voting position.)
Oldsey said he believes strongly that any updates about the presidential search need to come from Masser to eliminate the “possibility of problematic communication” when someone else speaks.
“It should also be noted that there are some really extraordinary people on this selection council that would have made good decisions with or without me,” he said. “But I’m very pleased to be able to do this. I would run through a brick wall for this place to get the right leader, and that’s what this is about.”
Other notes from the Board of Trustees meeting:
—More than half of the speakers during the public comment session were students, who brought up weighty issues affecting students: representation on the Board of Trustees, the effect the Affordable Care Act may have on students by reducing work hours, and student loans. The hottest topic was advocating for a permanent student trustee. The board has included a student since 1973, when then-Gov. Milton Shapp appointed a student, and governors have continued that tradition.
But it is only a tradition. Student government representatives want to guarantee a seat, and they want that trustee to not be appointed by the governor, but chosen by students. Anthony Panichelli, a representative of the University Park Undergraduate Association, told the board that here should “never ever be a question again that there will be proper student representation.”
—The board made two changes to its bylaws: The annual meeting, when trustees choose their officers and take care of “other organizational business,” will now be in July. The annual meeting was previously in January, which did not match up with when new members join the board, which is July. It also added a seventh standing committee, the compensation committee.
As I’ve written in previous posts, this committee would help to determine salaries for several tiers of university officials, ranging from the president (its primary purpose) down through top vice presidents, the athletic director, and even some highly paid coaches.
After speaking with Frank Guadagnino ’78, an outside attorney hired by Penn State to consult on governance issues, I wrote this in September: The trustees have historically had an ad-hoc group called the compensation council, consisting of the chair, vice chair, immediate past chair, and chair of the finance and business committee. This group essentially approves compensation that is decided upon during the negotiation process, and it brings the president’s compensation before the board for approval. A review by Susan Basso, vice president for human resources, indicated the need for a more formal and structured process, so the governance committee has proposed the formation of a standing committee on compensation.
—Joel Myers ’61, ’63g, ’71g, chair of the outreach committee, announced three changes to the public comment session that will be made after suggestions from alumna Alice Pope ’79, ’83g, ’86g: (1) people will be encouraged to direct questions to committee chairs, who will answer “respectful” queries or pass them on to the appropriate department, (2) a large digital clock will be used to time the three-minute each speaker gets a public comment, preventing the one-minute warning that Pope said may distract speakers, and (3) the possibility of increasing the 48-hour notice that speakers selected for public comment get to 72 hours or more, making the process easier on speakers from out of town.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
When the agenda for Board of Trustees’ governance and long-range planning meeting on Thursday moved to new business, Anthony Lubrano ’82 was ready with his issue. He’s already been on record criticizing the search process for Penn State’s new president, saying the Trustee Presidential Selection Council does not include enough trustees who represent alumni.
This time, Lubrano proposed having a discussion about the issue, possibly as a prelude toward changing the makeup of the selection council, which interviews finalists for the position. He said that the full board should be able to meet with the finalists before voting, rather than relying on the 13-member selection council to make a recommendation for the entire board.
Governance chair Keith Eckel, a member of the selection council, said he had no problems with the process, which is the same as has been used for previous Penn State presidential searches. (Refresher: The Presidential Search and Screen Committee, composed mostly of faculty, students, and alumni, did the initial work in conjunction with executive search firm Isaacson Miller and recommended finalists to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, which then recommends a candidate to the full board.) Said Eckel: “The process works.”
Responded Lubrano: “It’s a valid concern. You say to 18 members of the board: ‘Here’s a person, you can vote up or down.’ This is the most important role we play as trustees, and now you’re saying to trust us. Trust us.”
That exchange kicked the discussion to a broader level, touching on not only how the presidential search works, but how the board itself works.
First, trustee Carl Shaffer asked Lubrano why he hadn’t raised these concerns when the board passed a resolution establishing the search process in November 2012; Lubrano said he had, privately, and that at the time, the composition of the selection council wasn’t known. Only later, Lubrano said, did it become clear that selection council had only one member who was elected to the board by alumni: Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62.
This prompted a forceful response from Eckel:
“When I see the committee and the board, I see a member of the Board of Trustees. I don’t see someone elected by the ag society. I don’t see someone elected by the alumni. I don’t see somebody from business and industry. I see trustees. All equal in their ability and right to serve …”
Vice chair Paul Silvis ’06g, a guest at the committee meeting, interjected: “And passion to serve, too.”
Eckel agreed, then continued, referencing not only the selection council, but the board’s six standing committees, and the seventh standing committee to be voted on Friday, the compensation committee. “I have absolute confidence in the selection process where we put people on committees,” he said. “I serve on two committees (governance and legal), and tomorrow we will hear reports from four others, soon to be five others. I have confidence in the work of those individuals. … You have to have confidence in the people you’re working with.”
Said Lubrano: “I think the confidence has been eroded over the last two years pretty significantly. To not acknowledge that is to put your head in the sand.”
In the end, Lubrano declined to introduce a motion that would change the makeup of the selection council, which is continuing its work after its reported top choice, the president of SUNY’s Upstate Medical School, was found to have been padding his salary.
Eckel then opened the meeting, as has become his custom since becoming the chair of the committee in July, with a chance for the public to comment. The first speaker was trustee emeritus Ted Junker ’60, who said he’d served on the committees that chose both Joab Thomas and Graham Spanier, and he addressed another comment of Lubrano, about socializing with the spouse of the presidential finalists. The committee did meet with Thomas and his wife, Marly, but did not meet with Spanier’s wife, Sandra ’76g, ’81g.
The next to speak was Alice Pope ’79, ’83g, ’86g, who called herself disappointed in the discussion.
“I think it is reality for us to acknowledge that there are differences of opinions on the board and that they reflect differences of opinions within the community,” she said. “The hiring of the president really requires genuine consensus. We want the next president to succeed. This is really important, opening up a new era at Penn State. We want to form and create the next Penn State out of the ashes of what’s happened here. You proceed without the opinions of the trustees who disagree with the majority, just because they’re the minority. Minorities are important.”
Pope added that just because the process worked in the past doesn’t mean that it has to be used now, and said that as a university professor herself, she knows that some universities have found ways to open the presidential search process more. “Even if you don’t want to be open with the entire community,” she said, “you need to be open to the whole board.”
Eckel stressed that trustees are not disenfranchised—everyone gets a vote on the new president. “And the idea that minorities were excluded from the process is wrong. They were part of the vote that approved the resolutions saying a candidate will be presented to the full board.”
Said Lubrano: “Today, that vote would be very different.”
The meeting was jam-packed with discussion on weighty issues, one of which I’ve already written about (potential changes to the election of alumni trustees) and others of which I’ll explore in later blogs and the magazine. Here are a couple of additional noteworthy items:
—Eckel announced the hiring of Holly Gregory as its consultant to help the board think through additional changes in its governance structure.
—Silvis reported on a meeting that he and Eckel had with state senators John Yudichak ’93, ’04g and Jake Corman ’93, who say they will introduce a bill to reform the Board of Trustees. Silvis said the words “patience” and “participation” came up frequently, and he said the legislators don’t want this to be a confrontational process, but one in which the legislature works with the board. He explained the mindset this way: “Measure twice, measure 10 times, cut once. Because the changes we make in governance are going to be with us for 25 years or longer.”
The presentation prompted Shaffer to ask how much jurisdiction the Pennsylvania state legislature has over the board: “How far can this go? Can they pass a law about our budget? I’m a little concerned about the slippery slope.”
University counsel Stephen Dunham described the relationship between the legislature and the four state-related universities, Penn State among them, as “complicated and unique.” He said he couldn’t answer Shaffer’s question in the abstract: “The lawyer’s proper answer is, it depends on the facts. What area it is, how extensive it is, the history, the charter, the non-profit law. There are lots of issues to look at.”
—Members of the committee met with students who are interested in governance issues and who made a case for a designated student trustee, a case that Eckel called impressive. Eckel also noted that faculty and the Alumni Association would like to have designated seats on the board.
—Liz Grove ’84 asked the committee why the conflict-of-interest statements, which the board voted into its bylaws at its May meeting, are not yet public. Frank Guadagnino ’78, a Reed Smith attorney hired by Penn State to consult on governance issues, said the board office distributed two questionnaires to the trustees, one which is the equivalent of the IRS Form 990, the other to disclose “actual and potential” conflicts of interests. He said they’ve received all but two forms, and that the goal is to make information public on the university’s website by the end of the year.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
For years and years, the election for the alumni seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees ran smoothly and under the radar. Then the Sandusky scandal happened, and among the many changes around Penn State came an exponential increase in interest in the election—more candidates, and more alumni interested in voting.
The election process has been confusing and sometimes frustrating for alumni, and the Board of Trustees office was at times overwhelmed with requests for ballots. Which is why vice president for administration Tom Poole, whose office handles the administration of the Board of Trustees, presented suggestions at Thursday’s governance and long-range planning committee to streamline the process and make it less confusing. The goal: To increase alumni participation in the election.
The committee discussion ranged beyond Poole’s suggestions (below) to a broader discussion of who should automatically receive ballots. Currently, ballots are automatically emailed to alumni who have been an Alumni Association member in the previous two years or who have donated to the university within the previous two years. Other alumni don’t receive a ballot automatically, but can get one by making a written request to the Board of Trustees office.
The committee discussed the feasibility of amending the board’s charter so that ballots would be automatically sent to any alumnus with an email address on file with the university. Committee chair Keith Eckel summed up the discussion: “I’m hearing a desire expressed by the committee to expand this as broadly as we can.”
Poole made three suggestions to improve the alumni trustee election:
—Automatically distribute ballots to anyone who requested a ballot the previous year. This would make the process easier not only for alumni, but also for the board office, which fielded 11,000 requests for ballots in each of the past two years.
—Better publicize and explain the election and nomination processes.
—Allow candidates to include their websites and social media links on their official profiles on the Board of Trustees website, something that hadn’t previously been permitted.
The committee didn’t need to vote on the changes, but everyone appeared to be in agreement that those improvements should go forward. The biggest discussion concerned broadening the ballot distribution to alumni who are not members of the Alumni Association, which is the group currently defined by the charter.
Frank Guadagnino ’78, an outside attorney hired by the university to consult on governance issues, said the original language in the charter likely appeared because the Alumni Association maintains the database of alumni. He said the charter could be changed, but that under the Pennsylvania Non-Profit Corporation Law, the board would need to have 10 days’ notice before a vote. While that 10-day notice is possible before the board’s next meeting in January, the nomination period for the 2014 election will have already started by then.
This prompted trustee Carl Shaffer to say, “If we can’t change the charter this year, according to all of the discussion here, then I do think we should have more discussion before we attempt to change the charter.”
Barbara Doran ’75 noted that although the nomination process starts in January, the ballots for the election aren’t distributed until April; she asked if the issue of who automatically gets ballots could be decided after the nomination process has started. Guadagnino said he believes that is possible.
One other alumni election issue came up as well: the nomination process. Doran said she has heard from alumni that needing only 50 signatures to become a candidate is too few. “Because there have been so many candidates the past two years,” she said, “it’s really hard if you want to do your due diligence to get through the candidates.”
Poole said this is another area that may need attention, but he added that changing it for 2014, when anyone planning to run for the board would have spent the past year assuming he or she needed only 50 signatures, would not be fair.
This was a particularly busy governance committee meeting—it approved a recommendation to hire Holly Gregory as a governance consultant, and there was a spirited discussion about the presidential search process. I’ll have more updates later.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Paterno movie update: Jessica Tully of Onward State checked in with David McKenna, the screenwriter for a planned biopic on Joe Paterno based on the book by Joe Posnanski. There’s still no timeline. There’s still no casting update, although Al Pacino is still apparently slated to play Paterno. McKenna said he had admired Paterno growing up, since he’d watched Penn State’s 48-14 victory over Pitt in 1981. Said McKenna: “I vividly remember asking myself ‘Who’s that little Italian guy with the glasses on the sideline?’ Well, let’s just say I was hooked after that.”
Married on campus: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when Buzzfeed decided to do a list of “insanely beautiful colleges you can get married at,” Penn State made the list. I don’t think the photos do this place justice, though. Old Main is a great venue, but I can’t believe Buzzfeed couldn’t find wedding party photos from the gardens outside my office at the Hintz Family Alumni Center or at the Arboretum. Photos like those might have put Penn State higher than No. 13.
Income gap widening: Economists in the College of Agricultural Sciences released a report Tuesday that’s sobering for residents of Pennsylvania: the state lost 16,000 jobs from 2001 to 2011, and the economists also found what Ted Alter, professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics, called “major shift in employment from higher to lower wage industries.” Ted Fuller, development economist in the college’s Center for Economic and Community Development, noted that “this loss of high-middle wage jobs–through recent cyclical ups and downs alike–probably does not bode well for the Pennsylvania economy.” You can read the Penn State news release by clicking here or check out the full report at this link.
Trumka celebrates Lincoln: And if you’ve not yet digested enough coverage of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, which was Tuesday, you should check this out: Richard Trumka ’71, president of the AFL-CIO, participated in a project by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and PBS in which celebrities recited the Gettysburg Address. His reading clocks in at 1 minute, 51 seconds. It’s a genius speech, so it’s always worth your time to listen.
Lori Shontz, senior editor