A misty-eyed Elizabeth Goreham handed over the reins to Mayor Don Hahn Tuesday after eight years as the borough’s ceremonial head. In exchange, Hahn gave her a bouquet of flowers.
“In many ways, I look forward to becoming a private citizen, not the least of which is because of the man who will replace me today, Don Hahn,” said Goreham, a public servant for 20 years. “He is a very kind, intelligent and thoughtful man — a native son of State College. He is just the person the town needs to be its mayor, and I know he will win your full support in short order.”
Hahn, a Democrat, was sworn in by Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest shortly after noon at the Municipal Building.
“I have some very large shoes to fill,” Hahn said. “Elizabeth has done a great job in the past, and I hope to be able to draw on her advice in the future.”
He expressed gratitude to those who’ve helped him along the way, including his wife, parents, borough residents and his opponents in the mayoral race.
Democracy requires competitive elections, said Hahn, who previously served on Borough Council for 12 years, two as president, and is currently an attorney at Stover McGlaughlin.
“I think State College is in great shape,” he said. “I think that we have an excellent staff, wonderful neighborhoods, a beautiful environment. We have a world-class university and a vibrant downtown in the middle of it.”
One thing Hahn said he hopes to improve in the coming year is the relationship between students and non-students in the borough.
Penn State students contribute so much to the vibrancy of the town, he said.
It’s also important, though, that there’s balance, Hahn said, adding that compromise should lead to better things and not breed resentment.
A new face on council
Borough Council and staff also wished farewell to Thomas Daubert — who served on council for 24 years, mostly recently as council president. He plans to stay involved in the borough, though.
“I think, Tom, you have demonstrated enthusiasm and dedication to the community. Your decisions reflect considering the well-being of the entire community, and that’s very important. You are, in my mind and in the minds of others, what it means to be a true servant leader,” Councilwoman Catherine Dauler said.
Newcomer Dan Murphy is filling Daubert’s seat. Murphy, director of Penn State’s Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs, was also sworn in Tuesday, along with re-elected council members Evan Myers and Theresa Lafer.
Myers was chosen by his peers to serve as Borough Council’s president.