Posts tagged ‘Todd Rucci’

Another Alumni Election Sweep for PS4RS

Alice Pope and Robert Jubelirer react to the announcement that they won BOT seats.

Alice Pope and Robert Jubelirer react to the announcement that they won BOT seats.

For the second year in a row, candidates endorsed by Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship swept the three seats in the Board of Trustees alumni election. When the new trustees take their seats in July, none of the nine alumni trustees who were on the board when the Sandusky scandal broke—and when Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier were fired—will remain.

Alice Pope ’79, ’83g, ’86g, a psychology professor at St. John’s University, finished first with 10,025 votes; Albert Lord ’67, former chairman and CEO of Sallie Mae, finished second with 9,516 votes; and Robert Jubelirer ’59, ’62g, an attorney and former state senator, finished third with 8,101 votes.

“We do have nine new people in three years, and I think that should put to rest the idea that the concerned alumni are a vocal minority,” Pope said. “The Alumni Association survey showed that the alumni who are concerned about the leadership of this university are not a minority. So now it’s really time for us to be taken seriously and to work together in a very genuine way. It is over the time to be saying ‘us’ against ‘them.’ That time is gone. We must do whatever it takes to bridge that divide.”

A divide does exist. Jubelirer, who said he was involved in about a dozen elections as a politician, said this campaign was both the most difficult—because of its length and structure, and the importance of social media—and the nastiest in which he was involved. “People can say whatever they want,” he said. “My whole personal life was laid out on Facebook. … There’s a handful of people who made it that way. I want to make that clear. Not everybody’s nasty.”

Board turnover isn’t limited to the alumni trustees. Two new gubernatorial trustees, Cliff Benson ’71 and Todd Rucci ’92, were confirmed by the state legislature April 9 and took their seats at this meeting, replacing Ira Lubert ’73 and Al Clemens ’59. Business and industry trustees Linda Brodsky Strumpf ’69 and Jim Broadhurst ’65 stepped down; they’ll be replaced by Daniel Mead ’75, ’77g, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, and Walter Rakowich ’79, retired CEO of Prologis.

Pope, Jubelirer, and Lord (who did not attend the meeting) were endorsed by PS4RS, which has criticized the board for its firing of Paterno and Spanier, its acceptance of the Freeh report, which they say led to NCAA sanctions, and the board’s unwillingness to keep pushing to find the truth of what happened in the Sandusky scandal. But Pope and Jubelirer say they also bring additional qualities to the board.

Jubelirer says he has “relationships in Harrisburg that I think will benefit the university,” and Pope, as a college professor, says her understanding of higher education is particularly important on a board that has far more trustees with corporate backgrounds than higher ed backgrounds.

“The business of education is not like other business,” she said. “The products are not the same. Yes, corporate models have some place in universities, but the educational mission has to be put first and foremost.”

Jesse Arnelle is recognized for his 45 years of serves as a Penn State trustee.

Jesse Arnelle is recognized for his 45 years of serves as a Penn State trustee.

The PS4RS candidates won their seats handily. The fourth-place finisher, Ted Sebastianelli ’68, was 2,400 votes behind. The only incumbent running, Joel Myers ’61, ’63g, ’71g, finished seventh with 3,511 votes. The other two incumbents, Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62 and Jesse Arnelle ’55, ’62g, decided to not run for re-election. Arnelle served as a trustee for 45 years; he was first elected in 1969.

Overall, voter turnout was down, with 29,791 ballots cast. More than 33,000 alumni voted in 2013, which was in turn down from more than 37,500 in 2012, immediately after the Sandusky scandal.

Other notes from Friday’s meeting:

—Agricultural trustees Keith Masser ’73 and Betsy Huber were re-elected, but trustee M. Abraham Harpster ’94 said that a candidate had complained about voting irregularities in one county.  He added that election officials had not been able to confirm this, and so the election results stood.

—The resolution to add a permanent student trustee—selected by students—was withdrawn because governance chair Keith Eckel said Gov. Tom Corbett will appoint a student to replace Peter Khoury ’12, who is graduating with a master’s degree this weekend, before the board votes on tuition in July. Should the appointment not materialize, the board will call a special meeting to assure there is a student on the board for the tuition vote. The possibility of a permanent seat for a student will be considered with the rest of the governance reforms, not separately.

—Speaking of governance reform, Eckel said that consultant Holly Gregory has a sense of the issues that trustees want to address after Wednesday’s small-group sessions of the governance committee, which were not open to the public. He hopes to present the full board with recommendations at its July meeting, making it possible to vote on the package at the September meeting.  This will likely involve an interim committee meeting between now and then, and trustees have said that will be an open meeting.

—In his final presentation to the board, retiring president Rod Erickson gave updated application numbers: As of May 5, Penn State had received more than 81,000 undergraduate applications, 14 percent higher than 2013 and 5 percent higher than 2012. Including grad school, law school, and medical school applications, Penn State has received more than 120,000 applications, 600 more than in 2013 and 1,200 more than in 2012.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

 

 

May 9, 2014 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

Clemens Resigns from BOT; Alumni Election Change Passes

For the second day in a row, I find myself wrapping up the Board of Trustees meeting by starting at the end.

Just as board chair Keith Masser ’73 was preparing to adjourn the Friday’s meeting, Al Clemens ’59 jumped in to read a statement. He got right to the point, announcing that he was resigning from the board.

Clemens, a gubernatorial appointee, joined the board in 1995 and was the only one of the four trustees remaining as plaintiffs in the Paterno family’s lawsuit against the NCAA who was on the board when the Sandusky scandal broke. As a result, he is the only one of the trustees who was found to have standing to sue on the claim of defamation.

He said the board didn’t have much information or time to discuss the issues when it voted quickly on Nov. 9, 2011, to fire Joe Paterno: “I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.”

He indicated, as well, that hiring Louis Freeh and accepting his conclusions “without review” was another mistake and that he joined the Paterno family’s lawsuit in an attempt to “reverse the misguided sanctions that were designed to punish a football program without blemish.”

He also said his resignation was in keeping with his belief in term limits; the current limit is 12 years, but members including Clemens were grandfathered in when that change was made. He has served for 19 years.

Clemens’ term on the board actually expired in 2012, according to the trustees’ website; staff from the trustees office said that there’s often a long lag between when a governor-appointed trustee’s term expires and when the governor nominates a replacement. Gov. Tom Corbett announced in late February that he was nominating Cliff Benson ’71 and Todd Rucci ’92 to fill the seats of Clemens and Ira Lubert ’73. Those nominations must still be confirmed by the state senate.

Lubert’s term technically ended in 2013, as did the term of vice chair Paul Silvis ’06g, for whom a replacement has not been announced. The terms of two other governor appointees, student Peter Khoury and Mark Dambly ’80, expire in 2014.

Also noteworthy from the meeting:

Alumni election changes pass: All alumni who have email addresses on file with the university will receive ballots in the upcoming alumni trustee election. Trustees unanimously passed a motion to change the procedure in the university’s charter; previously, only alumni who are Alumni Association members or have donated to the university in the past two years automatically received ballots, although any alum could request one.

After the issue was debated and unanimously passed in the January governance committee meeting, Penn State sent postcards to 186,610 alumni without email addresses on file, governance chair Keith Eckel said Thursday during the committee meeting. The cost: $82,000.

Eckel said Thursday that only 400 of the cards had been returned and noted that while he thought reaching out to alumni was the right thing to do, the “somewhat disappointing” rate of return meant that the gesture likely doesn’t need to be repeated. At Friday’s meeting, he said he’d been told that the number of returned postcards had increased to 700.

The alumni election starts April 10, and alumni still have time to return the cards. All of these changes are taking place after the nomination process for alumni trustees, which ran from mid-January to late February. In the future, all alums with email addresses on file will receive both a nomination form and an election ballot.

Public comment: After several meetings in which the number of speakers during the public comment session shrunk, nine speakers were announced for Friday’s meeting, although only seven showed up to speak. Also in contrast to recent meetings, when speakers covered a variety of issues, most criticized how the board has handled to the Sandusky scandal.

Ceil Massella, an alumna and wife of football letterman Brian, told the board, “Just as I always think of the shooting when think of Kent State, this university will always be associated with Sandusky’s guilt unless the record is set straight.”

Evan Smith ’11 asked the board, “What are you personally doing with your position of power to help serve the Penn State family? How are you helping us fight this battle of public perception?”

Several speakers also reiterated their belief that the board owes an apology to the family of Joe Paterno.

Facts and figures: President Rod Erickson said applications for 2014-15 baccalaureate admission have increased by 9,000 over last year—19 percent at University Park and 8 percent at the commonwealth campuses. Out-of-state applications are up 26 percent, and international applications are up 18 percent. Minority applications he said, are running 16 percent of last year.

He also said that the quality of applicants is higher: Their average SAT score is 20 percent greater than last year’s.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

March 7, 2014 at 8:45 pm 2 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Feb. 24, 2014

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Another record: THON 2014 wrapped up Sunday with $13,343,517.33 raised in the fight against pediatric cancer. There’s lots of great coverage today, including photos, video, and stories at Onward State and the Collegian, but our friends at the College of Communications shared a unique collection of images you might’ve missed: a collection of Instagram images (like the one above), taken by student journalists, of THON dancers, support staff, and families. The theme: “Who do you dance for?” Very cool stuff.

What a finish: David Taylor and Ed Ruth will go down as two of the best wrestlers in Penn Stater history. Our in-house wrasslin’ expert, Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g, was at Rec Hall Sunday to watch Taylor and Ruth in their final home matches in a dual meet against Clarion. How’d they do? Let’s just say both guys barely broke a sweat. Our editor, Tina Hay ’83, posted some great photos at that link, as well.

Board bets: Gov. Tom Corbett has nominated a pair of alumni to fill the Board of Trustees posts currently held by Ira Lubert ’73 and Alvin Clemens ’59. The nominees are Cliff Benson ’71, an executive with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres who was instrumental in securing the nine-figure gift from Terry Pegula ’73 that allowed for the creation of Division I hockey at Penn State; and Todd Rucci ’92, a football letterman and former director of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

‘Eers to Scrap: Tom Bradley will be back on the sidelines this fall. A longtime member of Joe Paterno’s staff, Bradley ’78 was hired by West Virginia on Friday to be the Mountaineers’ senior associate head coach. Bradley, who had worked as a radio analyst the past two years, served as the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach for the final four games of the 2011 season.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 24, 2014 at 11:20 am Leave a comment


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