Governmental Affairs head DiEugenio to retire, replacement named

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Acknowledging he has mixed feelings about stepping down after more than 25 years in Penn State's Office of Governmental Affairs and a 40-year career in public policy and education, Rich DiEugenio, special assistant to the president, announced he will retire from Penn State in January 2012.

Michael DiRaimo, current director of Governmental Relations for Penn State, has been named to succeed DiEugenio. DiRaimo has 30 years of experience in governmental affairs -- including the past 10 as a lobbyist for Penn State.

"It's time to turn over the reins. I feel like I've given 110 percent to Penn State and I've enjoyed it," DiEugenio said. "I know I'm leaving the office in good hands and that's important to me. I'm comfortable knowing that the staff in place is as strong as it has ever been and is in great shape to carry forward what we've built."

DiEugenio, who joined Penn State’s Office of Governmental Affairs in 1986, came to Penn State following more than a decade in Washington, D.C., where he served in legislative roles with Congressional offices and the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, as staff director of the Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee. He began at Penn State as director of legislative affairs, responsible for federal relations.

In 1992, DiEugenio took on the role of Penn State's director of governmental relations with primary responsibility for state relations. In 1996, he was promoted to lead Penn State's Office of Governmental Affairs, where he has overseen all state and federal relations for the University. In his capacity as special assistant, DiEugenio serves as the chief adviser to President Graham Spanier on governmental affairs, policies and strategies.

"Rich has participated in all major policy decisions at Penn State during the past 15 years, and his advice and counsel have been invaluable to me," said Spanier. "He's worked tirelessly to assure Penn State's participation in the formulation and articulation of public policy initiatives, and he's directed an effective team that has been instrumental in keeping Penn State's goals and interests at the forefront."

DiEugenio earned a bachelor of arts degree from Ursinus College, a master's degree from Temple University and a doctoral degree with distinction in American and comparative government from Georgetown University, where he studied under former United Nations Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick. After a thee-year stint as a teaching fellow at Georgetown University, DiEugenio began a career on Capitol Hill.

An advocate for good public policy in support of public education, DiEugenio hopes that his efforts have had a lasting impact. "I hope that I've made a major contribution to the University and the community by focusing concern and attention on higher education," he said. "Education needs an advocate in the political arena."

During his tenure, DiEugenio has represented three Penn State presidents before Congress, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and the Governor's Office and Cabinet. He has been instrumental in gaining political support for Penn State.

Among his accomplishments, DiEugenio counts his work with University colleagues and his working relationships with key legislators as some of his most rewarding. Additionally gratifying was his election to serve as a member of the State College Area School Board.

"I've been fortunate to be part of a fantastic team at the executive level, working in a coordinated way to move things forward," he said. "I also have had the good fortune to work for one of the best university leadership teams in America."

DiEugenio said he is looking forward to the next phase of his life and knows that his intellectual pursuits and interest in politics won't end when he leaves Penn State. He plans to read a lot -- one of his passions -- and possibly write. For the University, he predicts the best days are ahead.

"These are difficult days, but in these times, it's more important than ever for everyone at the University to be an advocate for Penn State and to recognize the important contributions the University makes to the Commonwealth," he said.

Upon his departure from Penn State, DiEugenio will be granted emeritus status.

Last Updated January 10, 2015