Jeffrey A. Krisciunas, Ballot Position No. 56

Jeffrey A. Krisciunas ’94, ’11g Bus
Principal, Lion’s Share Ltd.
Philadelphia, Pa.

Read Krisciunas’ 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?

The bottom line is if the 30% budget appropriations cut occurs, Penn State will be receiving the equivalent (inflation indexed) of less than ½ the appropriations it did nearly 20 years ago.  We can NOT let this happen. We need to fight for every dollar.  However, with any long-term strategic planning, we must find resources and measures that do not sacrifice our academic excellence should reductions occur.

As Bloomberg has ranked Penn State in the top ten of endowment growth over the past 4 years, we must continue these efforts in support of the For the Future- The Campaign for Penn State Students. Thanks to dedicated alumni like you, PSU is over 75% completed toward the 2B campaign goal.  Remember that this campaign is for the Students and we, as alumni, need to insure this campaign is successful! WE must continue to develop scholarship endowments!

We must also continue to look inwardly at our own costs.  While we continue to create a beautiful campus with many new buildings, I believe we need to fully understand the future operating footprint costs that are created for the university in perpetuity.  Capital planning can NOT just be about raising initial capital to build buildings, but also understanding what future cash outflows will burden future budgets.  I am committed to Leading with Honor, Placing Students and Alumni First, and Supporting Academic Excellence; and believe all three of these pillars are at a focal point when discussing Penn State’s financial future.

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.

First, in conjunction with how to handle state appropriation shortfalls, I believe a clear step is the support of endowments.  I have seen first-hand how endowments have aided Penn State with my work with The Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  With endowing over $30M at Hershey over the past several years, we are able to attract top-notch pediatric oncology research physicians in the hope of one day conquering pediatric cancer.

While endowments have had one of the best growth records over the past 4 years, Penn State’s overall ranking in the Big Ten is in the bottom half for overall endowment size.  That needs to change! Some of our Big Ten rivals have greater than quadruple the size of our endowments.  Endowments for more student scholarships and grants can be used to insure we attract talented students to the university, while also minimizing some of that financial burden.

As a CFO, I would be remiss not discussing the importance of corporate governance and internal budget controls. We need to take a long-term approach to our planning process, and insure we are not creating long-term financial burden, which may result in increased tuition costs.

Third, continue to leverage the Penn State brand in growing areas of education and research.  The expanded use of other educational programs such as World Campus and additional Commonwealth campus courses, and the growth of research at our medical center at Hershey; should be at the top of our list.

3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?

Let me be very clear, privatization is not the answer, and goes against the spirit of a land-grant school!  How much worse off would education within the state be if Penn State decided to privatize and restrict educational resources to the nearly 95,000 students it now has?  I shudder to think of the impact this would have over the entire Commonwealth, as campuses may be forced to be closed.

Penn State needs to continue to follow its core Mission Statement as it reads ”Penn State is a multicampus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world, and improves the well being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.”  The Mission goes on to talk about providing “unparalleled access and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

We should be loyal to that mission as it is still relevant today. State funding helps ensure a level of cooperation, ensuring that PSU is meeting the needs of the Commonwealth and vice-versa.  Penn State needs to be a university that practices open communication, has the highest ethical standards, superior integrity, and strong moral character.  At the same time we must be able to admit when we are wrong, and learn from it!  That’s the Penn State I know. We need to continue to produce world leaders as we are today!  That should be core of the Mission moving forward as Penn State becomes better and stronger than ever!

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