Make it six for six.
Reform candidates endorsed by a grass-roots alumni group have for a second straight year swept their way onto the Penn State board of trustees.
Alice Pope, Albert Lord and Robert Jubelirer handily defeated the rest of the field of 31 candidates, which included incumbent Joel Myers. The results were announced at the trustees meeting Friday at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
Voting was down slightly from the past two years, but that didn’t hurt the three candidates who picked up endorsements from Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship.
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Pope scored 10,025 votes, more than double all but three other candidates. Lord got 9,516 and Jubelirer 8,101.
Only one other candidate topped 5,000 votes: Ted Sebastianelli.
Myers, who served on the board for 33 years, finished seventh with 3,511. He joins a list of incumbent trustees who have been voted out for newcomers since the board fired Joe Paterno on the heels of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, angering many alumni.
How the board treated Paterno has been one of the rallying cries for the PS4RS group. In the three alumni elections since the scandal, the group has seen seven of nine candidates it endorsed elected, including all six it supported in the past two elections.
“I’m a product of the grass roots,” Pope, a psychology professor at St. John’s University, said after the election Friday.
Myers framed his own re-election bid this year as a “referendum” between PS4RS supporters and those alumni who he said want to move on past the Sandusky scandal. He’s been critical of the group for focusing on Paterno.
After the results were revealed Friday, Pope said it’s time for the board to work together to move forward.
“It is over, the time to say its ‘us against them,’ that time is gone,” she said. “We must do whatever it takes to get over that divide or we’ll go nowhere.”
Jubelirer, a longtime state senator, said Friday that Penn State needs to heal, but won’t be able to until “we get the truth on what took place on Nov. 9, 2011,” the day Paterno was fired.
“What took place, the lack of due process, the lawsuits that are out there, there are things that we need to put behind us, but until we have the truth, I don’t see us being able to go together.”
The late coach’s son Scott Paterno tweeted congratulations Friday to the new board members.
Trustee Anthony Lubrarno suggested after the meeting that the board might now have the numbers to move forward with a review of the Freeh report, the Penn State internal investigation that implicated Paterno and top Penn State administrators in a cover-up of allegations against Sandusky.
All nine alumni-elected seats are now filled by trustees who ran on reform-related issues, including the seven who were supported by PS4RS.
“We believe there needs to be repudiation (of the Freeh report),” Lubrano said. “The only reason it hasn’t been put forward is we don’t have the votes. I think in July, the complexion changes.”
Lubrano praised the newest trustees, saying he believes they will be engaged members of the group.
“These are passionate people about the university,” Lubrano said. “Al Lord walks into this place running. He is one of those people; he has the gravitas, he has the experience, he has the resources. I’m excited to be working with Al Lord.”
Lord, a former CEO of Sallie Mae, was not at the meeting Friday and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Myers, in parting remarks, thanked his colleagues and asked them to focus on their core mission of education.
“My final message to all of you is not to allow public opinion, agendas or politicians to sway you from guiding this institution away from its cherished and sacred purpose of educating the sons and daughters of Pennsylvanians and Americans, and now, increasingly, the world,” Myers said.
The board lost another longtime member Friday, Jesse Arnelle, who had been a trustee for 45 years when he pulled out of the race for re-election this year.
“I can only hope that my 45 years of service to our beloved university in some small measure validates that decision to offer me a scholarship to Penn State,” he said. “I leave enormously enriched in memories and gratitude and a deeper appreciation and respect for Penn State.”
Alumni-elected trustee Marianne Alexander, who did not seek re-election, and Ira Lubert, Al Clemens, James Broadhurst and Linda Strumpf, whose terms expired, and student Peter Khoury, who is graduating, all said goodbye Friday.
Board President Keith Masser and Betsy Huber were re-elected delegates from agricultural societies. Walter Rakowich, former CEO of Prologis, and Daniel Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, were named business and industry board members.