Henry B. Swoope V, Ballot Position No. 49
Read Swoope’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
Answers to Questions
1. In view of sharply declining state appropriations, what steps should Penn State be taking to secure its financial future?
We have managed cuts in the past by eliminating jobs, merging departments and not offering raises. Those cuts were nowhere near this deep. There will no doubt be a sharp decline in donations in 2012 as an extremely angry alumni base shows it’s displeasure with a seemingly disconnected and frankly personally unlikeable Board of Trustees. Step one; the Board needs to be removed, replaced and restructured. Step two; we need to continue our Grassroots Campaign and keep pressure on Harrisburg to ensure a Penn State education maintains it’s high value. Step three; continue to beat the drum to our over half a million strong, thoughtful and hard working alumni base that Penn State needs their help now more than ever. Step four; we must maintain the strength of our Commonwealth Campuses. This is the core of Penn State and we must continue to invest in the future of these campuses.
2. The rising cost of tuition nationally is making college less affordable for many students. Outline the steps you believe Penn State should be taking to address the issue.
It appears as if the current President of the United States wants to tackle this issue as well by redirecting federal financial aid from universities that raise college costs to those that are taking steps to keep costs in check or lower them. A great idea in theory, but will it work in practice? I hope we get a chance to see. In the meantime, we should be developing new strategies to capture today’s tuition dollars for tomorrow’s education. We are all familiar with 529 Plans, but why can’t we offer privatized plans through our university that allow us to increase cash flow today while offering benefits to those who participate for their children’s future? Certain parameters and guidelines can be set that then need met later to “cash in” on the benefits of this privatized plan, but there has to be a way to manage it. Thus Penn State’s cash flow cycle is much more attractive than it is today.
3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?
As the Morrill Act turns 150, it is clear that many feel that most land grant universities have lost their way and become fixed on what their national ranking is as an agricultural and science and engineering school. Penn State has clearly become a leader in Ag Sciences and is a world class research university. In it’s land grant mission, Penn State must adapt to ever changing and complex economic industries. We need to continue collaborative efforts with other leading universities in our agricultural and science research projects. Penn State has grown from a sleepy uni-cultural teachers college to a vast and far reaching global institution with students from numerous cultures and various socio-economic backgrounds. Facing these environmental, technological and social challenges head on is what makes Penn State great and continues it’s land grant mission into this century.