Brian M. Rutter, Ballot Position No. 29

RutterBrian M. Rutter ’03 Bus

Vice president of operations
ICAT Logistics MDT office
Boalsburg, Pa.

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

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1. Describe how you think the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the university president should function.

The Board of Trustees and the university President should work exactly how the board policies dictate. The Board is entrusted to select the President of the university as well as the policies and procedures to reach major university goals. From there it is the job of the board to support their choice in the President and serve as advisers to the President on any matters that he/she may require. Knowing that the board is indeed empowered to select the President, it is essential that after doing so, whether or not it’s to the liking of each individual board member, to support him/her in in all that the President requires to most effectively run Penn State. In the past 3 years, we as a university community have felt the pain of a board and community divided and the constant process of looking backward at what was done wrong. It is time for the board to work together, despite differences in individual opinion, and to look forward with specific measurable actions for success hand-in-hand with the President in every major university decision. As President Barron takes the reins of PSU, it is the job of every alumni, faculty, staff, student, member of the community, and board member to trust and support him to take PSU to a higher level of success.

2. What would you do to help heal the university community and to assist the university as it continues to recover from the Sandusky scandal?

Upon being elected to the board, we will have already done our part by adding more BOT members to replace those who were on board during the initial reactions from the Sandusky scandal and the firing of Coach Paterno. I appreciate the difficulty of what the Board, the President, and the PSU community at large has dealt with in the wake of the Sandusky scandal and unfortunately we cannot do anything retroactively to change it. It is my desire not to look backward in regret for actions taken but rather to look back and to have learned from our mistakes to ensure they don’t ever happen again. Though 159 years of success, honor, and tradition at PSU we have had endless reasons to celebrate our university. The pain of the scandal is still real for many of us and for many of the negative feelings that we all had an association to as PSU Alumni. There are two things that will help us to recover from the Sandusky scandal:

  1. Growth and national successes of our academic and athletic programs. The pain of being in the national media headlines was one of the most difficult portions of being a PSU Alumni. Switching focus to events like the Penn State Lunar Lion Team will give us more global recognition for our accomplishments helping to bury the negative actions that can’t be changed.
  2. Time to distance ourselves from the events. Each day that goes by is a part of our healing process.

3. What, in your view, are the major fiscal challenges Penn State will face over the next three years—and how should the university address them?

As Penn State drove to keep a minimal 2.76 percent aggregate tuition increase for 2013-14, the unfortunate backlash was expense reductions for planned budget increases to the amount of $35.9 million. PSU is doing an effective job in working hard to keep our tuition as minimal as possible with hopes of keeping the best and brightest coming to the university regardless of their financial status. The challenge is how to get back to the growth that the university had previously intended and planned for as a part of a long-term growth plan without penalizing the students in the form of above average tuition increases. The university, from top to bottom and across departments and disciplines, must work together to identify individual opportunities to obtain large private funding for individual scholarship funds and major capital improvements. This is noted best by Terry Pegula and his individual donation of over $88 million to create the Pegula Ice Arena. Here an individual reached out to PSU on his own to donate to PSU for a specific cause. The BOT must actively get behind the Development Team at PSU to push programs and donors such as that of the Visionary Giving Opportunities—“The Big Ideas”. Penn State is no different than that of any business in that creating more income will allow us to grow more comfortably than simply tightening our budgets. The both must be done but growth in private donations will help to avoid tuition increases or cuts in needed capital improvements.

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