Board of Trustees

Seth Williams: Penn State Board of Trustees candidate

Biographical information


Age: 47

Education: B.A. political science, 1989; J.D., Georgetown, 1992

Work: district attorney, Philadelphia

Experiences and activities: National Board of Directors, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; Natonal Board of Directors, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; Legislative Committee Chair, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association; Major, U.S. Army Judge Advocate Generals Corps, Reserves; adjunct law professor, Villanova Law School and Temple Law School; president, Penn State Undergraduate Student Government, 1988-1989; president, Black Caucus, Penn State 1987-1988; University Student Executive Council, member, 1987-1989; John W. Oswald, Student Leadership Award winner, 1989; member, Penn State Abington advisory board; 2008-present; Alumni Fellow Award recipient, Penn State Alumni Association, 2011; life member, Penn State Alumni Association; adjunct professor, Penn State Abington, 1998-2004

Please describe your motivations for running for the Board of Trustees.

I am running for the board of trustees because I believe Penn State's best days are ahead of it, and not in the past. My father arrived at Penn State in 1941. He was a varsity athlete but could not live on campus because he was black. He still loved Penn State and was thankful for his education. He founded the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and local N.A.A.C.P. chapter to help make the school better.

As a student I led a march to Harrisburg to get the school to divest from South Africa, and I served all students as the Undergraduate Student Government president. My father and I were both committed to Penn State's land-grant mission to provide a quality and affordable education for the sons and daughters of the working class.

What are the most important challenges ahead for Penn State, and if elected, how would you address them?

Affordability, excellence and transparency.

Penn State was founded to provide a quality and affordable education for the sons and daughters of the working class. My No. 1 priority it to ensure that future generations will not be deprived of a Penn State education because of tuition costs that are beyond their grasps.

I will work hard to find creative solutions to increase our endowment, state support and corporate partnerships that will allow members of the working class to live the American dream through the attainment of a Penn State degree, in the same way that my father and I did.

If elected, what position would you support on the topic of Penn State board of trustees reform?

I support efforts to study the reduction of the size of the board of trustees.

If elected, what position would you support about Joe Paterno?

Jerry Sandusky did unspeakable things to children and has been convicted of his crimes. As a prosecutor, I will always remind others that we must never forget the victims of crime.

Coach Paterno in his own words said he wished he could have done more. I won't add or subtract from his words. I will say that Coach Paterno was an icon and in many ways represented the very best of our Penn State traditions and is deserving of our respect and thanks.

Is there anything else you want voters to know about you and your candidacy?

I have loved Penn State since I was a young boy listening to my father's stories. He fought to make Penn State a better place while he was a student, and so did I. This is a critical juncture in Penn State's history. It is my fixed opinion that my father's influence, my Penn State experience, and my professional experience as the elected district attorney of Philadelphia make me uniquely qualified to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.

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