Penn State Board of Trustees

Former Sen. Robert Jubelirer joins race for Penn State trustee post

mdawson@centredaily.comFebruary 19, 2013 

Two more Penn State alumni, one of whom was a longtime state lawmaker from Altoona, announced Tuesday they are seeking election to the university’s board of trustees.

Robert Jubelirer, the state senator who helped draft the unpopular legislative pay raise bill in 2005 and subsequently lost his re-election bid, is running in the hope of putting to use at Penn State his 32 years of experience in the Capitol in Harrisburg.

State College resident Andrew Jackson, who was an academic adviser at Penn State for more than 20 years, wants to see the board take on a more student-centered focus.

Candidates have to collect 50 nominations by Monday to secure a spot on the ballot for three alumni-elected seats, and alumni can request a ballot by emailing bot@psu.edu. Jubelirer, of Boalsburg, said he has been notified he has received the 50 nominations.

Jubelirer said he is passionate about Penn State and thinks its reputation has been tarnished in the wake of the scandal.

“As I’ve watched things unfold in the last year or so, I thought that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and just criticize what the board has done,” said Jubelirer, who was for years the senate’s highest ranking official, the president pro tempore. “I needed to at least try to make a contribution.”

Transparency is among Jubelirer’s priorities if he were elected. He criticized the board for not being open enough with the public and even its own members in some of the decisions that were made.

Jubelirer also criticized NCAA President Mark Emmert for imposing the sanctions against Penn State, which include a $60 million, a postseason bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

The former lawmaker said he thinks the size of Penn State’s board of trustees, with 32 members, is too large. He said he would like to see its size reduced.

Jubelirer got his bachelor’s degree in 1959 and his law degree from Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle in 1962.

Jubelirer was elected to the Senate in 1974, and during his time in office, he was the Senate’s president pro tempore for 21 years. As the highest ranking senator, he was made the lieutenant governor in 2001 after then-Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker’s ascension to governor upon the resignation of then-Gov. Tom Ridge.

He is perhaps best known for losing his re-election bid in 2006 after the 2005 legislative pay raise debacle. Jubelirer lost in the primary to Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger.

Now, Jubelirer chairs the governmental relations practice for the Philadelphia law firm Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell and Hippel.

Jackson said he thinks students’ perspectives will be important part of the community’s healing from the Sandusky scandal.

“The students are really in the forefront,” he said. “I think that the community has to do some healing, and I think that people need to be closer in line with what’s going on.”

Jackson got his a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and his doctorate in 2004 from Penn State. His work history includes teaching in Philadelphia and Chester-Upland public schools.

Jackson retired from Penn State in 2007 and said he just completed two terms on the university’s alumni council and was elected to the Blue Band’s alumni board.

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