Posts tagged ‘Steve Garban’

A Postscript from the Board of Trustees Meeting

There’s an interesting subplot to this year’s alumni Board of Trustees election—among the three seats coming open is that of Stephanie Nolan Deviney ’07 JD Law, who was just elected vice chair of the board at last week’s January meeting. Deviney is running for re-election, but if she loses, the board will need to elect a new vice chair at its July meeting.

The election, Deviney said at a news conference after last Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, had nothing to do with her decision to run for vice chair.

“Stepping up was the best way for me to serve the university,” she said. “Obviously, it’s an election process. I’ve said it before—this great election process allowed me to be here and to be on this board. And I will accept whatever the will of the alumni is. It’s their voice and it’s their vote, and obviously, if I’m not re-elected, then they’ll be looking for a new vice chair in July.

“Until June 30th, I’m intending to put my full force and energy into the best job I can do to make Penn State a better place. Better than it is already.”

Nominations for the three open alumni seats opened earlier this month and will continue until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Voting begins April 10; winners will be announced at the May 3 meeting. For more information, including how to receive a nomination form or ballot, click here.

Last year’s election attracted a record 86 candidates, including only one of the three incumbents, Anne Riley ’64, ’75 MA Lib, who lost. Of the three seats open this year, one is held by Deviney, who joined the board in 2010; one is held by Paul Suhey ’79 Lib, who’s been on the board since 1998; and the other has been vacant since Steve Garban ’59 Bus resigned in July.

Lori Shontz, senior editor



January 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm 1 comment

Inching Toward Changes on the Board of Trustees

About an hour and a half into a discussion of recommendations to reform the Board of Trustees, Jim Broadhurst ’65 turned to Katelyn Mullen, vice president of the University Park Undergraduate Association and the student representative on the Board of Trustees’ standing committee on governance and long-range planning.

“Katelyn,” he said, “you want to start?”

Everyone on the committee laughed—Mullen included. The item on the table: Should the governor continue to be a voting member of the board?

So, yeah, that seemed like it could be a little sensitive for anyone, let alone the student rep. It’s a touchy issue—and one of many that those demanding changes in the Board of Trustees have identified as something that needs to be addressed.

James Broadhurst (file photo)

James Broadhurst, chair of the governance committee (file photo)

But Mullen jumped right in and said she didn’t think the governor should have a vote. The rest of the committee agreed—just as it had earlier agreed that the university president should not be a voting member of the board, and just as it later agreed that a five-year waiting period before a trustee can become a university employee—or vice versa—is appropriate.

The trustees haven’t decided to make any of these changes. But the members of the governance committee did spend more than two hours weighing them Thursday afternoon, and that followed a four-hour private meeting of the entire board, which was devoted to addressing the governance reforms suggested in the Freeh report and by auditor general Jack Wagner. (A Faculty Senate report on governance isn’t finished yet, but trustees are anticipating its suggestions.)

Before that committee meeting, which was held the day before the board’s first public meeting of 2013, Broadhurst cautioned for the benefit of onlookers—mostly media, but a few interested members of the public—that the discussion was just that, a discussion, and that all initiatives would be presented to the full board as one resolution.

The plan, he said, is to identify areas of consensus, then submit a resolution with those changes to the bylaws to the full board. “We need to be very careful to not go to the board piecemeal with separate items,” said Broadhurst, who added that the committee “doesn’t know how the full board might feel.”

The governance committee is still working—monthly meetings are planned—and any potential bylaw changes need to be announced 30 days before they are voted upon. That makes the May 3 meeting the earliest possible date for a vote.

As Keith Masser ’73, the board’s new chair, said Friday in response to a reporter who wondered whether potential changes to how business and industry trustees are selected (another point of contention) would be discussed at that May meeting: “Things don’t move that fast around here.”

Trustee Joel Myers (file photo)

Governance committee member Joel Myers (file photo)

Broadhurst presented a brief report during Friday’s full board meeting, as did all of the chairs of the standing committees. But the report wasn’t particularly detailed, which is one of the reasons it’s so great that Thursday’s committee meetings are open to the public. Full board meetings always seem as though they’re planned to the second; there’s little debate or discussion, little revealing. The committee meetings, however, have proven to be more interesting.

Among the items the governance committee discussed:

—Being careful to not change just for the sake of change. Trustee Joel Myers ’61, ’63g, ’71g reminded the committee that before the Sandusky scandal broke, Penn State’s board structure had been “held up as a model, believe it or not,” in the world of governing bodies in higher education.

—Criteria for emeritus trustees. This was the second consecutive public committee meeting at which the members spent a significant amount of time discussing how to clarify the role of the emeritus trustees, which Peetz defined as primarily advisory.

—The role of the university president on the board. Everyone agreed that the president should not vote, but that she or he should still be a member of the board. (The question was raised as to whether not being a board member would turn off potential presidential candidates.) The university president should also not be the board secretary, everyone agreed, but the committee wants to talk further about who should fill that role. They want to define the role, then find the right person for it.

—The governor’s role on the board. Everyone agreed that the governor shouldn’t vote, but they are continuing to discuss whether she or he should be a non-voting member. There was some agreement that having at least a non-voting representative on the governor’s behalf is helpful, especially given Penn State’s status as a land-grant university. Broadhurst said he would like to speak with Gov. Tom Corbett about it.

—The waiting period before trustees can become university employees, and vice versa. Five years seemed to be the key number. Myers, the founder and president of Accu-Weather who also taught at Penn State for a number of years, became a trustee immediately upon retiring from the university, but said the waiting period wouldn’t have deterred him. Roger Egolf, the faculty representative and an associate professor of chemistry at Penn State Lehigh Valley, wondered if the same rules should apply, for instance, to an adjunct faculty member as a high-profile administrator. (For instance, Cynthia Baldwin 66, ’74g went immediately from trustee to the university’s legal counsel, Dave Joyner ’72, ’76g, ’81g went from trustee to the acting athletic director, and Steve Garban 59 went from the university administration to trustee.) The committee members seemed to think it was important to avoid the appearance of impropriety in every instance.

—Term limits for trustees. The discussion focused on whether the limit should be nine years or 12, with Jesse Arnelle ’55, ’62g cautioning that too much turnover could lead to “a lack of historical continuity.” Groups wanting to reform the board have maintained, however, that there’s not enough turnover. Among governance committee members, Arnelle has been on the board since 1969, Myers since 1981, and agricultural delegate Carl Shaffer since 1997. Not everyone has such a long tenure; Masser was elected as an agricultural delegate in  2008, and outgoing chair Karen Bretherick Peetz ’77 was appointed a business and industry trustee in 2010.

Stay tuned. Clearly, there’s more to come.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

January 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm 4 comments

More from Sunday’s Trustees Meeting

Board chair Karen Peetz.

The upcoming search for a new Penn State president took up a big chunk of yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, but the group covered some other ground as well. Here’s more on what they talked about:

Accreditation. President Rod Erickson gave an update on the warning Penn State received two weeks ago from its accrediting agency, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The president and vice president of the commission were on campus to meet with Penn State officials last Thursday, an Erickson called it “an excellent meeting.” Middle States has 14 accreditation criteria, and in Penn State’s case it has concerns about three of those criteria: integrity, governance, and institutional resources. The university has until Sept. 30 to provide an report on what it plans to do to address those concerns.

“There’ll be a small site-review team here during October,” Erickson said, “and we hope to have all of those issues satisfied in time for the mid-November meeting of the full commission. I have every expectation that we either have met, or will meet, all of those requirements.”

Vacant position. It doesn’t sound like trustee chair Karen Peetz ’77 plans to make her own pick to fill the vacancy created (more…)

August 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm 2 comments

New Leadership for the Board of Trustees

Karen Peetz took over as chair of the Board of Trustees.

Generally, the January meeting of Penn State’s Board of Trustees is a pretty straightforward affair. There’s a lot of routine business to take care of—choosing meeting dates for the next calendar year, authorizing the president to confer degrees at commencement—and even the more notable items, such as the board electing its officers, tend to be only minimally noteworthy.

Not so Friday, at the board’s first public meeting since the Sandusky scandal.

The meeting was moved from its usual location—the boardroom on the ground floor of the Nittany Lion Inn—to the larger ballroom on the first floor. We in the media got hand-stamped at the door, assuring us entrée into the post-meeting news conference. Milling around outside the inn were alumni with signs supporting “due process for Joe Paterno,” and milling around inside was a larger-than-usual number of police officers.

And although the day started slowly—at one point, the Twitter hashtag #PSUBOT was agog over the revelation that Penn State had purchased 20,000 pounds of peanut butter in anticipation of a rise in peanut prices, interesting but hardly the key news everyone was waiting for—by the end, there was plenty of news to digest:

Steve Garban ’59 stepped down as the chair of the board, and John Surma ’76—who made the announcement that Paterno and president Graham Spanier were gone—stepped down as the vice chair. (Garban and Surma will remain on the board; they simply gave up leadership positions.)

—The board elected new leaders. The chair is Karen Peetz ’77, vice chairman and CEO of financial markets and treasury services of the Bank of New York Mellon, who was elected by the board as a representative of business and industry in 2010.  The vice chair is Keith Masser ’73, chairman and CEO of Sterman Masser Inc., a family farm, and who was elected by agricultural societies in 2008. Each ran unopposed. (more…)

January 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm 7 comments

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