Education: B.S. industrial management, 1964; J.D. Duquesne University, 1970
Work: partner, Fox Rothschild LLP, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Experiences and activities: president, board member KidsVoice, 2014; healthcare lawyer of the year 2013, Best Lawyers Pittsburgh; Allegheny County Bar Foundation Pro Bono Award, 2005; Muscular Dystrophy Millennium Diamond Award, 2001; Cancer Support Network board member, chairman, Crystal Award, 1993; Penn State men’s rugby, 1962, 1963; Kabala Family Rugby Hall, 2008; Mount Nittany Society; member, Penn State Alumni Association, Nittany Lion Club, President’s Club; Penn State Rugby Outstanding Alumni Award, 1998.
Please describe your motivations for running for the Board of Trustees.
The short-handed football teams Penn State fielded in the last two seasons received no special consideration. Wins and losses were determined by the final score and we were, and are, proud of their achievements.
Penn State’s board must follow that lead and perform as a team in order to allow the university to compete. Someone has to be the next man up and I believe my training and approach to business make me capable of functioning in that role.
How the board and administration reacted to the revelations of 2011 is no longer material. Decisions were made and we need to focus on strategies to overturn or overcome their effects.
Penn State cannot succeed in a world moving at warp speed if it is burdened with a cumbersome governance structure and internal disputes.
It is time to focus on our students, our faculty and our research and education mission. Penn State has a new president and if he is to succeed and Penn State is to compete in a modern world, we need a board that is cohesive and focused. Civility, open discourse, cooperation and compromise must prevail over individual goals and biases.
Penn State has not witnessed a board functioning as a team in the last several years. I would like the opportunity to try and change that.
What are the most important challenges ahead for Penn State, and if elected, how would you address them?
For Penn State, as other institutions of higher education, governmental contribution to education in an uncertain economy is a major challenge.
Pennsylvania has reduced its historic funding to education. State related universities are less favored than those designated as state institutions. Regardless of the party in power, the conflicting demands of all the needs of citizens of Pennsylvania with institutions of higher education will only increase. The success of programs instituted by Penn State, plus size and visibility, work against its plea of need. The board’s attitude that commonwealth funds are welcome, while legislative oversight and involvement are not, is not helpful.
Penn State must reduce its costs without reducing its product; that may come from research combines, an allocation of educational functions among all state and state related institutions, or other strategic partnerships. One must take a fresh look to avoid duplication of services already provided elsewhere, even if Penn State can deliver them more effectively. Available funding must be utilized to support those initiatives already undertaken or for which there is clear need.
Prior initiatives must be reviewed. Is there a need for a law school? What combination of world versus Pennsylvania focus is appropriate?
Medical coverage for employees escalates annually. We must reduce, share or shift it. Imposing lifestyle demands, however laudable, without “buy in” from all constituencies was ineffective, but the cost and lifestyle problems remain. Better communications and agreed upon common goals are necessary.
If elected, what position would you support on the topic of Penn State board of trustees reform?
The board is too large to perform efficiently and its quorum and operational rules allow a minority to control its operation.
The size of the board must be reduced, the role of the alumni should be increased and that of the commonwealth and business and agricultural societies should not only be decreased but the criteria and method of selection should be open and understood.
Term limits should immediately be made applicable to all members.
Many “experts” have weighed in on the exact reforms needed, but the reality is that if Penn State’s board does not embrace meaningful reform internally, the legislature will eventually mandate change, and legislation rarely creates an efficient mechanism.
If elected, what position would you support about Joe Paterno?
Coach Paterno was treated shamefully in 2011. We need to restore him to his rightful place in Penn State history, not just for his family but for all of us who watched as he showed that athletics were not the end but a means to learn the skills necessary to succeed in life.
Our alumni will not be united behind Penn State causes until the Paterno matter is resolved, but the tone and vitriol that has characterized the argument about how and when (or, to some, if) to remedy the past injustices has itself become disruptive and destructive.
If it were solely up to me, I would immediately restore the Paterno statue to its former location, but the truth is the task will require patience, perseverance and compromise.
It seems however that some board members are reluctant to correct the past injustices prior to the forthcoming trials of the indicted administration members. I would seek an immediate commitment to address the Paterno issues and restore Coach Paterno’s status, as well as that of his players, upon completion of those trials.
Is there anything else you want voters to know about you and your candidacy?
I have been a negotiator for my entire career. I have also been a counselor to boards of all types.
I have been a member and chair of nonprofit boards of organizations which fight child abuse and childhood diseases and adult diseases. Some of these boards were functional and others more challenging but I was able to negotiate appropriate compromises on all of them.
Penn State gave me the tools to compete and be successful and I seek to restore its former image so that it can continue educating today’s students for the challenges of tomorrow.