Stephanie Nolan Deviney, Ballot Position No. 12

DevineyStephanie Nolan Deviney ’97 JD Law

Fox Rothschild LLP
Exton, Pa.

Read Deviney’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).

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1. What should Penn State be looking for in its next president?

At a joint meeting of the Blue & White Vision Council and Presidential Search Committee, I explored this very question with a group of students, faculty, staff, and academic and campus leadership. Despite the diversity of this group, its vision for our next president was unified by an essential theme—Penn State is a world renowned research institution committed to academic and personal excellence. Our next president must push Penn State’s reputation to even higher levels through a commitment to academic integrity and a desire for excellence. Our president must be trustworthy, exhibit the highest personal integrity, communicate well with others (including engaging in active listening), and motivate and inspire others to achieve their full potential. Penn State’s growing World Campus, engagement in MOOCs, and desire to lead the digital revolution (all of which are changing the delivery of higher education), requires an innovative and visionary president who is knowledgeable in technology. Our next president must manage complex and diverse issues presented by our unique campus structure. Through strategy and collaboration, each campus must share in the fulfillment of our land grant mission to provide access to an affordable education for all people. Despite being the single largest contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy, Penn State’s appropriation from the Commonwealth continues to decrease and due to demographics it will likely never be restored to prior levels. Our new president must utilize innovative cost cutting measures and increase fundraising efforts to be a revenue generator capable of sustaining Penn State for future generations.

2. What changes or reforms should the Board of Trustees consider to help the university progress after the events of 2011 and 2012? Please explain why—or, if you don’t think reform is needed, please explain why not.

Our Board has already implemented the following changes to improve governance and oversight:

•Restructured existing committees and added new committees (e.g. Governance & Long Range Planning, Legal & Compliance, and Outreach)

•Reduced the term limits of trustees

•Added faculty members, staff and students to most committees

•Created dual reporting lines to the President and the Board for key positions

•Added a public comment session to Board meetings (and many committee meetings)

At our May 3, 2013, meeting, we expect the following reforms to be passed:

•President and Governor will be ex officio non-voting members of the Board

•President will no longer serve as Secretary. Secretary will be elected by the Board

•Quorum increased to majority

•Five year term limit imposed on committee chairs

•Increased waiting period for an employee to become a trustee

•Composition and method of selection of executive committee revised to create a larger executive committee

•Provision for removal of trustees for breaches of fiduciary obligations

Our next level of reforms should include, but not be limited to, composition and size of the Board, selection/election process by which trustees become members of the Board, and a more robust conflict of interest policy. The reforms we implemented have already improved the governance of our Board by improving our oversight and thus increasing accountability. The reforms we vote on in May are just the beginning of a continuing process to review our structure, administration, and composition to ensure the highest and most effective Board possible.

3. How do you define the role of an alumni trustee, and how would that inform the way you would approach your term on the board?

First and foremost, all trustees, regardless of how we came to the Board, owe a fiduciary obligation to the University as a whole. Throughout my term, every decision I have made has been in fulfillment of this duty. Trustees must not only attend all meetings (with limited exceptions), but must also adequately prepare for all meetings. Second, as a trustee, it is important to build relationships—with the President, administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and fellow trustees. Trustees are given ample opportunities to build these relationships through interaction with these constituents at our regularly scheduled meetings. By engaging in relationship building, we inevitably learn more about the university and ways we can have a positive impact on Penn State. Third, we must communicate with others. Trustees fulfill this obligation in their own way. For me, I engaged in activities at the Commonwealth Campuses and alumni association near my home, including, but not limited to, attending a send-off picnic for new students, supporting fund raising efforts, celebrating the holidays, and serving as a trustee representative for graduation. I have also worked to increase communications with the media and Commonwealth Campuses. Visit me at to learn more. Lastly, trustees must take advantage of available resources. I regularly read The Chronicle of Higher Education, the magazine Trusteeship, and participate in complementary webinars hosted by the Association of Governing Boards to keep up to date with the latest trends in higher education and the role that trustees play at their university.

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bigd1992  |  April 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    “Provision for removal of trustees for breaches of fiduciary obligations”…does that include accepting unfair penalties from the NCAA which are costing Penn State hundreds of millions of dollars? That is why I am voting for other candidates to replace you.

  • 2. Anonymous  |  April 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I believe you failed the University when it most needed leadership. This board showed no backbone. I too am voting for replacement of current board.

  • 3. Mj  |  April 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I believe that Ms. Deviney has been an exceptional leader on the board and has shown the courage of her convictions. Contrary to other opinions expressed here, I believe that leadership was exemplified when choosing to do what was right for the university rather than what would quiet a vocal minority. While I do not agree that the NCAA sanctions were appropriate, I do believe that it was the right step to move past them and prioritize other aspects of the university, namely academics and research, to try and steer so much of the public focus away from athletics. After all, most of the people involved in the university are not there athletics but rather an education. Ms. Deviney is a board member who is focused on this area and I applaud that.

  • 4. William A Levinson  |  April 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    It is telling that Ms. Deviney’s supporters, and the supporters of the Trustees at the Centre Daily Times and Collegian, are almost universally anonymous. I, for one, don’t say behind another person’s back what I won’t say to his or her face.

    “Provision for removal of trustees for breaches of fiduciary obligations” stands out. I know its actual purpose is to allow the Executive Committee to get rid of Anthony Lubrano and anybody else who won’t rubber stamp its decisions, but I think the whole Board would be gone if it was applied as worded.

    Here is the situation. Either two NCAA officials (Ed Ray, and Ameen Najjarr) or Rodney Erickson lied about the death penalty threat. This means somebody lied about $60 million of Penn State’s money along with post-season play (and therefore millions more), and Penn State’s reputation. Now, if the Board removed Graham Spanier for allegedly concealing information from the Board, it ought to remove Erickson for lying to the Board and to the Penn State community (if he did) or invoke the harshest possible legal action against the NCAA (if the NCAA did the lying).

    The Board has not even attempted to determine who is telling the truth, let alone act on the finding. This underscores the current Board’s lack of fitness to be in responsible charge of Penn State.

    “First and foremost, all trustees, regardless of how we came to the Board, owe a fiduciary obligation to the University as a whole. Throughout my term, every decision I have made has been in fulfillment of this duty.”

    Let’s start with rushing to judgment on 11/9, thus destroying Penn State’s reputation. Let’s continue with the matter of upward of $60 million of Penn State’s money, and the burning issue as to whether the President of Penn State or the NCAA lied about the death penalty threat that cost Penn State that money–an issue about which Ms. Deviney and her fellow Trustees have done nothing.

    “Trustees must not only attend all meetings (with limited exceptions), but must also adequately prepare for all meetings.” Reading the Freeh Report before affirming its findings of guilt in public, as Karen Peetz and Kenneth Frazier are on record as doing, sounds like adequate preparation that didn’t happen. Ms. Deviney, or any other Trustee with a sense of duty, could have counseled them against this. Their judgment was simply not there when Penn State needed it, and I see no evidence that it is there now.

  • 5. ter130  |  April 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Leadership takes courage. Ms. Deviney is actively leading this university into the future. Each trustee candidate should be asked how they are going to focus on just that: moving this great university forward.

  • 6. Dave Ketchen  |  April 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Appeasing a media lynch mob is courageous leadership?

  • 7. Bill frattarola  |  April 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

    There are differing opinions on how the Sandusky scandal should have been dealt with. Because there was not close to a unanimous consensus by the Penn State community then seeking the complete truth should have been the only choice regardless of the difficultly of same. Please tell me if you feel the truth was served or if there was a more important objective accomplished with how it was handeled. Thank you.

  • 8. NAL  |  April 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

    FAIL…In a colossal way! Of all the candidates, I don’t think I’ve seen one that is in it for her own personal gain as this candidate. She has YET to do or say anything regarding true strategy for our school. She’s a ladder climbing lawyer that is leveraging her BOT position for her self serving needs. And the last thing this BOT needs is another lawyer FAIL FAIL FAIL!! I’ve read everything she’s published and found zero substance…NONE. In an early BOT meeting I attended, she had her child on her lap … I thought to myself “what kind of idiot would bring a young child to a meeting where pedophilia is likely to be discussed?”… then I answered my own question “one that is willing to pull a bs PR stunt using her own kid” DO NOT VOTE for her – she is L-O-S-E-R pick in a big time way. GO HOME STEPHANIE – your not welcome at PSU any longer. I’m voting the PS4RS candidates – at the very least they care enough to discuss and connect with alumni.

  • 9. David Geiss  |  April 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    At least her failure is more understandable than Suhey’s. She didn’t experience our culture at Dickinson. She doesn’t know what “We are” and for that I feel sorry for her, but I can’t excuse her failure.

  • 10. Penn State '85  |  April 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I’m sorry, but Ms. Deviney has not demonstrated leadership during her tenure as a BoT member. Her and others’ inaction over the past decade to institute the type of governance found in most corporations or public trust institutions led directly to this crisis and damaged the reputation of this great university and cost it hundreds of millions of dollars. A PSU BoT position is more than a check mark on the resume on the way to a corporate board position as Ms. Deviney seems to think.

    She is undeserving of another term. Its time to bring in new leadership that can allow us to fix the problems this current group caused, restore the honor of Penn State, and move on.

  • 11. William A Levinson  |  April 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Re: “Leadership takes courage. Ms. Deviney is actively leading this university into the future. ” She and her colleagues have led Penn State only to ruin, and she has done absolutely nothing to suggest that she deserves a second chance.

  • 12. Anonymous  |  April 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    All on 11/9/11 BoT: A true leader should have spoken out strongly and demonstrated courage and concern and wisdom to protect and defend PSU. That did not happen and the damage is done. To truly move past this, we must have a new board who can stand up and be counted on to do what is right and turn this around and create a culture of leadership based on the honorable Penn State values we hold dear.

  • 13. PSU parent  |  April 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Deviney’s continued presence on the Board would prevent the PSU family from comuing together and moving forward. If she really cared about PSU she would not have run again in this election.

  • 14. PS Free(h)  |  April 15, 2013 at 7:55 am

    You should have resigned.

  • 15. Mike Neary  |  April 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Having read Deviney’s statement that she voted to terminate Joe because of what he did between 112/5 and 11/9, i.e. issued a press release and announced his retirement WITHOUT receiving prior approval from the Board of Trustees, I do not know how she can even consider serving as a Trustee. I do not know which is more absurd: her comment or Shuey’s remark that the BoT just retired Joe

  • 16. Mike Neary  |  April 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    3 weeks early. Both statements are delusional at best!

  • 17. William A Levinson  |  April 15, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Deviney and Suhey do not seem to understand that the Board of Trustees is not a country club,but a responsibility. Neither has taken any identifiable action since 11/9 to treat it as such.

    Examples include failure to review and challenge the Freeh Report, and failure to act on the fact that either the President of Penn State or the NCAA lied about the death penalty threat, and therefore $60 million of Penn State’s money.

    The country club party is over for Suhey and Deviney effective July 1, and it will be over for Alexander, Arnelle, and possibly Myers (he is the only one who has done anything identifiable to earn a second chance) as of July 1 2014. It may be a little harder to remove the rest of the problems, but they may leave on their own when they realize that nobody in the Penn State community trusts or respects them.

  • 18. Ryan  |  May 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Mr. Levinson- well said. I am so glad both she and suhey are gone.

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