Ammerman retiring from Board of Trustees office

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After 35 years as a University employee and 27 years in the Office of the Board of Trustees, the last 21 as its director, Paula Ammerman oversaw her last Board of Trustees meeting Friday (May 3) in advance of a June 30 retirement.

Her tenure with the trustees office has spanned four University presidents, dozens of trustees and board chairs and many changes at the University, even transitions of technology, from paper-ballot trustee elections to voting completed mostly online.

"I've loved coming in to work every day and looking at the portraits because it was like greeting old friends," Ammerman said of board chairs' paintings, whose nuances she knows as well as the leaders they depict. The portraits hung throughout the main floor of Old Main until recently being placed in storage, when significant restoration work began on the landmark building and its history-filled frescoes.

It could be said that Ammerman traveled to the far corners of the nation — and beyond — to get to Penn State. Born in Texas, where much of her family still resides, she lived in the Scottish highlands for three years as well as in Alaska, following her father's career in heavy construction. After graduating from the University of Nebraska's High School Extension Division she earned a degree from Alaska Business College in Anchorage, where she met her husband, Jim, a Centre County native.

After marrying and moving to central Pennsylvania, she began her Penn State career in 1978, where she completed a business management certificate. From 1980 to 1986 she worked in the University Faculty Senate Office before transferring to the trustees office in Old Main.

Ammerman's responsibilities included administering six Penn State Board of Trustees meetings a year, with two annually at other Penn State campuses and, beginning in 2002, occasionally held in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., or New York. She also served as corporate secretary of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center board of directors, a role she assumed in 2000 when the medical center corporation was created. In the future, that position will be separated from the trustees office.

"Paula will take with her a great deal of institutional knowledge and governance experience," noted Tom Poole, vice president for administration and newly appointed secretary of the Board of Trustees. "Her work ethic has always been superb, but especially in the past 18 months we have benefitted from her extraordinary effort under the most challenging circumstances imaginable."

In retirement, Ammerman looks forward to volunteering with service organizations and spending more time with her husband; daughter Rebecca, a 2001 graduate of the College of Communications; son Eric, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, and three grandchildren.

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Last Updated January 10, 2015