2015 Trustee Election


After three years of a slow-motion coup, with angry alumni trying to put their stamp on a Penn State board of trustees that many felt they no longer recognized, the revolution, it appears, is over.

In a manner of speaking, anyway. The university announced Monday that just three alumni candidates have qualified for this spring’s ballot for three open alumni trustee seats, meaning the April 10 through May 7 election is essentially uncontested. So, without further ado, PennLive projects the May’s trustee election winners: incumbents Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie, and newcomer Rob Tribeck, a Harrisburg attorney. But seriously, this is an incredible turn of events after three years of unprecedented interest and participation in the alum election process: No less than 86 candidates entered the field in 2012, the first year after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal turned the public perceptions of the school on its head. Even last year, a field of 30 entered the scrum for three seats. One clear victor here is the grassroots alumni group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, which has pretty much owned the alumni election process over the last three years, whether it was fighting incumbent alumni trustees or other slates that argued the PS4RS way was too extreme. The group had thrown its endorsements to Lubrano, McCombie and Tribeck this year. But the drop in candidate interest is also likely due to the fact that the alumni as a whole have no more directly-elected members remaining from the board that voted to, among other things, fire the beloved Joe Paterno. Along the way, big-name incumbents like Jesse Arnelle, Joel Myers, and Paul Suhey have been defeated, or withdrawn from the race before they could be. PS4RS spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt certainly proclaimed victory after the ballot was set Monday. She said, in part: “Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship is proud of the role we’ve been able to fill in bringing together an active, forceful community of more than 40,000 Penn Staters who have stood up for our tradition of “success with honor” through the university’s darkest days. “We are growing and will continue to be a strong voice for alumni and supporters who believe that truth and justice are worth fighting for.” The nine alumni members still don’t represent anything close to a majority of the overall board. But they have begun to wield influence on some issues as the overall board has gradually turned over, and they certainly give voice to a passionate group of supporters that had felt disenfranchised after the events of November 2011.–Charles Thompson

Trustee election dates set


February 5, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – At its Jan. 16 meeting Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved Thursday, May 7, as the date for this year’s alumni trustees ballots to be counted. The results of the election will be announced at the trustees’ meeting on Friday, May 8. Alumni nominations for the 2015 Board of Trustees elections opened Jan. 15 and will be accepted through 5 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

On Jan. 15, nomination information was sent to all Penn State alumni who have a valid email address on file with the University. Alumni who did not receive the nomination email must request a ballot by going to http://www.psu.edu/trustees/2015election/index.html.

Candidates who receive at least 250 nominations, meet the qualifications to be a trustee and agree to run will have their names placed on the election ballot, which will be distributed on Friday, April 10. Those alumni who receive a nomination ballot in the Nomination Phase of the election will receive the election ballot automatically. The election runs through 9 a.m. Eastern time May 7. Information about all of the trustee elections may be found at http://www.psu.edu/trustees/selection.html.

Keith Oelbermann and His Antics


The Penn State faithful were up in arms following last week’s $13 million THON total and the stupid remarks made on Twitter by an ESPN personality.
The ESPN personality in question has apparently been less than kind in his previous comments about the Sandusky scandal and Penn State in general but particularly in the recent repealing of the sanctions and the return of the 112 wins.
After THON and the Penn State community’s amazing effort in the support of The Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that provides financial support for research and treatment of pediatric cancer, a 1982 graduate of Penn State sent a “tweet” to said ESPN personality with a “WE ARE” and included a link to a THON video.
His response was “Pitiful.”
The Twitter-sphere exploded with Penn Staters calling ESPN guy out on his disrespect for the university. He continued to fire back. Fast forward to the end of the story and ESPN comes out with an apology, the sportscaster issues his own lame apology and then ESPN announces that he will be suspended for five days (with pay). There is an on-line petition with a mounting number of signatures requesting that the employee be permanently canned from ESPN.
In the service of not enabling the attention addiction that seems to be the curse of celebrity, I refuse to even type his name.
Through social media and bad decisions, even a has-been celebrity or sports personality can turn up the wattage of the spotlight and make it last just a little bit longer.
The last time this same sportscaster made particularly stupid comments he was fired from his job and then eventually picked up by ESPN. This time he disparages a whole university including its students and alumni and gets a five day vacation with pay.
It’s really not much different than the toddler in the department store shopping cart that gets the toy after throwing a temper tantrum. We will see this behavior again.
Reinforcing bad decisions and attention seeking guarantees it will be repeated.
by Patty Kleban on March 02, 2015 6:15 AM

Penn State projected up to 84 scholarship players in 2015


James Franklin When Penn State was slammed with a significant reduction in scholarships in 2011 it was expected to take about a decade before Penn State could get back to full strength, if it ever did. Times have changed rather quickly for Penn State’s football program as the NCAA has scaled back and rescinded sanction terms following positive annual reviews from George Mitchell and ongoing legal battles. Now, on the eve of National Signing Day, Penn State is currently projected to have a roster with 84 scholarships filled in 2015.

This is the first full recruiting class Penn State has been able to attempt to fill since being hit with sanctions by the NCAA. The NCAA restored some scholarships in time for last season’s recruiting class to be put together, but this is the first 25-scholarship limit Penn State has had. It was filled today with new breaking Tuesday afternoon Penn State had flipped linebacker Kevin Givens from Pittsburgh to Penn State. He is Penn State’s 25th member of the Class of 2015, which includes three early enrollees this semester and a junior college transfer with junior eligibility.

With a full set of scholarships filled in the Class of 2015, Penn State is now back to a 84-scholarship roster. The work and planning done previously under Bill O’Brien seems to have paid off in this respect by helping to make this a possibility. Penn State will have 12 players with senior eligibility this season, 17 with junior eligibility and 16 with sophomore eligibility. Penn State had 15 players redshirted last season that will be eligible to play this year, bringing the total to 60 scholarship players returning in the fall.

Penn State may have filled all 84 scholarships allowed by the NCAA, but it is still going to be another year or two before Penn State is taking the field with a full active roster of scholarship players. Penn State will have 84 scholarship players, but how many of the incoming Class of 2015 players sit out with a redshirt this fall remains unknown. Roster management will continue to be key for James Franklin and his staff.

Penn State is locking down the second-ranked class in the Big Ten, trailing only defending national champion Ohio State.

Correction: This story previously claimed Penn State would have 85 scholarships. It has been edited to more accuarely detail the 84 scholarships on roster.

Child Abuse Program Underwritten by Sue Paterno


Scott Paterno said, “is my dad’s life becomes a really useful tool to have a broader discussion of both how we address these types of problems, how we train people to see them and everything else.”

“These types of problems,” in this case, are the Jerry Sanduskys of the world.

Last spring, Stop It Now!, a Massachusetts-based non-profit that works to prevent child sexual abuse, began a pilot program with the 14 state universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to train university employees who work with minors on campus on how to create safer conditions for children and prevent them from being victimized.

The 149 employees included administrators, faculty, counselors, athletic directors, legal counsel, communication director, students — basically, anyone who might deal with the summer camps that many schools host. They are trained to look for the signs of “nice-guy predators,” because that is the profile of the Sanduskys who prey on children. They appear to be respectable members of the community. They mentally seduce their peer adults. Then they seduce the children around them.

The news release said that Stop It Now! created the pilot program “through the generosity of a donor.” That donor is underwriting the $240,000 to fund the pilot program. That donor is Sue Paterno, Joe’s widow and the one-time matriarch of the entire Penn State community.

“You can look at it,” Scott Paterno said, “and say, hey, look, here’s a guy who tried to do in every other instance, every other documented instance, tried to do the right thing to the best of his ability,'” Scott said. “And here’s this one situation, we can debate whether or not he could have done more. But let’s not debate the fact that had he been equipped with better understanding, had he known exactly what he was dealing with, had he been trained to see what he was dealing with, had he been told how to handle this particular problem, would have dealt with it.”

This spring, Stop It Now! and the PASSHE system will hear assessments of the pilot program, both from participants and an independent evaluator based at the University of New Hampshire. The hope is to expand the program beyond the borders of Pennsylvania.

“Our evaluations are showing that it’s an effective program,” said Deb Donovan Rice, executive director of Stop It Now! “We’re real happy with what’s being accomplished. It wouldn’t have ever happened without Scott and Sue and the whole Paterno family.”

To the people who look at what happened at Penn State and are sure they would have been able to see what Jerry Sandusky hid in plain sight for 35 years, the pilot program may look like an attempt at penance — too little, too late. As if the motivation to stop child sexual abuse, to prevent another college community from enduring what Penn State has endured, isn’t enough.

Call it what you will. But while the rest of us pointed fingers and debated and dithered and pulled out our righteous indignation, Sue Paterno tried to solve the problem. As it turns out, locating the legacy of Joe Paterno on the road to redemption isn’t hard at all.

THON fundraisers scheduled across country


 Note: This story originally appeared in AlumnInsider, the Penn State Alumni Association’s monthly member e-newsletter.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — THON doesn’t happen just throughout one February weekend each year. It’s a yearlong effort by thousands of students — and thousands of supportive alumni.

Penn State’s 46-hour IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon is set for Feb. 20 to 22 at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. Last year, a record-total of $13.3 million was raised for THON, bringing the total raised in the history of the event to more than $114 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

Alumni volunteers go all out for THON. They host events, send care packages and mail to dancers and support Penn State students who are canning in their communities. Read an article in last month’s issue of AlumnInsider about the recent Volunteer Awards, many of which recognized the extraordinary efforts of Alumni Association affiliate groups and individuals supporting THON.

The theme for THON 2015 is “Empower the Dreamers.”

In Pennsylvania, Washington and Greene counties will hold their annual celebration, We Too Can Dance, on April 11. Below are dates for additional upcoming fundraisers across the country.

– Atlanta, Diamonds Over Georgia, Feb. 7

– Pittsburgh, Blue White Ball, Feb. 7

– New York City, Hope Gala, Feb. 28

– Los Angeles, Lights. Camera. Cure., March 21

– Philadelphia, Liberty Ball, Jan. 24

Many other alumni groups hold fundraisers for THON. From THON nights at various professional hockey matches to baseball games to raffles and auctions to golf outings, Penn State alumni chapters across the country are busy year-round raising money for THON and Four Diamonds.

Find out what your local chapter is doing to support THON. Or, donate directly to THON via the students’ website. Shop online at the THON Store for THON apparel, accessories and gifts, all of which benefits Four Diamonds.

For more information on THON 2015, visit thon.org.

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Penn State Football Gains Recognition for Scholastic Excellence


OnwardState.com

Penn State football was honored for its success in the classroom yet again, receiving an honorable mention in the American Football Coaches Association’s annual Academic Achievement Award Survey.

The Nittany Lions were honored for the 23rd time by the AFCA after posting a Graduation Success Rate of 87 percent, good for second in the Big Ten behind Northwestern and No. 5 among all public FBS programs, according to the NCAA.

Penn State’s GSR was 16 points higher than the national average of 71 percent. Penn State was honored by the AFCA for having a GSR of 75 percent or better for student athletes that were freshmen during the 2007-2008 academic year under then-head coach, Joe Paterno.

Penn State has now received recognition from the AFCA 23 times, tied for No. 3 all-time with Rice and behind only Notre Dame and Virginia Tech at 24 apiece. The Nittany Lions’ all-time total of 63 Academic All-America football honorees ranks second nationally, while their 18 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans over the past nine years (16 first-team selections) leads the nation.

This comes on the heels of another strong year for Penn State football in the classroom. 51 players received a 3.0 GPA or better in the fall semester and set a program record with 25 members on the Dean’s List. Prior to Penn State’s thrilling win over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl, a Big Ten Conference-high 16 members of the football team had earned their degrees to rank in the top 10 percent among all FBS institutions.

Hopefully the success continues in the classroom for the Nittany Lions to keep the positive trend going.

Photo: OS Admin

Lest We Forget–The Surma Brother’s Vendetta to Get Joe Paterno


Vic Surma, Sr, ( a Pittsburgh Dentist)wrote  in 2007–(Vic Surma, Jr, came to PSU to play as walk on–did not go well)

“The RAT (Paterno) has hurt so many young men, destroyed their self esteem, ruined their confidence, etc.

I’m starting with a Pittsburgh reporter (Sara Ganim was main source quoted in Freeh report) and hope to take his fraud national.”

The person who started the implosion that put Penn State on the defensive by using Tom Corbett’s (PA governor and former attorney general) plan of distraction of firing Joe Paterno was John P Surma, younger brother of Victor Surma, Sr. and VP of the Board of Trustees. John P Surma was responsible for the cancelling of the press conference Joe Paterno was holding to explain what he did, when, and why. John P Surma, after cancelling Paterno’s press conference, made it clear that it was his intention to have Paterno fired so the board would finally show Joe who was “really in charge.”

This cancellation fueled media speculation that the Board of Trustees would remove Paterno as head coach. Nothing could have had a greater impact on the public’s view of the guilt or innocence of Joe Paterno or Penn State. We know that the attorney general used blatant lies “that Paterno was informed of a blatant sex act by McQueary–which we now know is false. 

 

Penn State Magazine Questions Penn State President


Penn State president Eric Barron addressed the media for about 20 minutes this afternoon, talking about the agreement that repeals the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State. Here are a few of his comments:

—”I’m pleased we can close this chapter,” he said, “and look ahead to the important challenges and opportunities that face Penn State.”

—In addressing “a few key details” of the agreement, he mentioned that the $60 million fine imposed on Penn State “remains in the state of Pennsylvania, first and foremost.” Of that, $48 million goes to the Commonwealth, and the other $12 million “will remain at Penn State, to create an endowment, which is a long-term investment in [programs] … to help eradicate child abuse.”

—Asked about the fate of the Paterno statue, and other calls for Penn State to honor Joe Paterno’s career, Barron said: “Those who know me know that I prefer not to talk about things that will be a topic of discussion [publicly] … before chatting with lots of people. [But] there will be a time and place.”

—Asked what becomes of the Big Ten sanctions, including the sharing of football bowl revenues, Barron pointed out that the Big Ten is a party to the Athletics Integrity Agreement that will be renegotiated under the terms of the settlement. “I will discuss it with my fellow presidents,” Barron said. “They’re expecting that discussion to occur.”

—Barron was asked if, with the 2012 consent decree now erased, this might be a good time for academia to take a fresh look at the NCAA and its powers. “Hindsight is a fascinating thing,” Barron began. “I’ve talked to many of my fellow presidents, and did so to my ACC representative when I was at Florida State, suggesting that the NCAA moved too quickly. At the same time, they came to their decisions with the best possible motive—of not wanting to have such things occur, and with the notion that they had a responsibility to look … at institutional control. I see little purpose in trying to fault them.”

—He was asked to talk about how much communication there was with the Board of Trustees in the negotiations with state officials and the NCAA. He wouldn’t say much, except that “I hear frequently from my trustees, and that’s a good thing … but negotiation of details is first and foremost with the attorneys. … Then, when you have a sense of what agreement is possible, that’s the best time to bring it to the board. Then they can make the best possible decision. And, as you can see, the vote was unanimous.” He added that the negotiations were going on “right up to that moment,” presumably meaning right up until the start of the trustees’ meeting this afternoon.

—Asked again about the Paterno statue, he said: “Same answer. [I’m a] boring guy. There’ll be a good time and place.”

—In November, President Barron said he was committed to personally reviewing the Freeh Report. At today’s news conference he said today’s events don’t change that plan. “I am very appreciative that we’ve hit a tremendous milestone today, and that’s what we’re going to focus on,” he said, “but I don’t think my responsibilities change.”

—Asked if he had a message for students who might be inclined to celebrate today’s news, he referred to the spontaneous—but peaceful—rally that took place when Penn State’s bowl eligibility was restored last fall. “Our students acted with a high level of enthusiasm but with a great deal of respect,” Barron said, “and although I think I told you I was always worried about such an activity, I was very pleased by their behavior. And I’m hoping from every inch of my body that I can be equally proud today. This is something to be very happy about; this is not something that should promote destructive behavior in any way, shape, or form.”

Tina Hay, editor

President Barron’s Comments on the NCAA Settlement


Myke Atwater:

Let’s rejoice in what we accomplished so far, knowing that there are other issues still to be resolved, and wrongs that need to be made right!

Originally posted on The Penn Stater Magazine:

Penn State president Eric Barron addressed the media for about 20 minutes this afternoon, talking about the agreement that repeals the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State. Here are a few of his comments:

—”I’m pleased we can close this chapter,” he said, “and look ahead to the important challenges and opportunities that face Penn State.”

—In addressing “a few key details” of the agreement, he mentioned that the $60 million fine imposed on Penn State “remains in the state of Pennsylvania, first and foremost.” Of that, $48 million goes to the Commonwealth, and the other $12 million “will remain at Penn State, to create an endowment, which is a long-term investment in [programs] … to help eradicate child abuse.”

—Asked about the fate of the Paterno statue, and other calls for Penn State to honor Joe Paterno’s career, Barron said: “Those who know me know that I prefer not to talk about things…

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