Statement by Board Chairman Keith Masser

November 14, 2014

Today, the Board of Trustees, continuing its commitment to institutional reform, adopted a number of important changes to its composition. Core elements of the reform package include the addition of voting trustee seats for representatives of the faculty, students, the Penn State Alumni Association, and three “At-Large” members. These changes would increase from 30 to 36 the total number of voting trustees.

We have listened. Our board has received suggestions regarding our governance structure from elected officials, other interested third parties and important university constituencies, including our faculty, students and alumni association. I personally have met multiple times with alumni-elected trustees to seek common ground on the future governance of our board. Our governance reforms incorporate many of the suggestions we’ve received.

We are being more inclusive. By adding voting seats for student and faculty trustees, we have made the board a more comprehensive reflection of the Penn State community. These are two important constituencies that should have a voice. The board will benefit significantly from the perspective of our faculty, who lead critical components of our mission – teaching and research. Likewise, our student leaders have displayed maturity and sound judgment in the manner in which they responded to the challenges of recent years. For me, both of these important stakeholders had to be included in our governance changes. Also, alumni representation will be enhanced by adding a seat for the immediate past president of Penn State’s Alumni Association. All Penn Staters should be proud of our alumni association, whose more than 174,000 members include our alumni most active in service, and most generous in contributions, to Penn State. The service perspective of this organization will enrich our board.

We embrace consensus building. The addition of three At-Large members will facilitate a broadening of the consensus necessary for board action by ensuring that no two of the following four groups of trustees – agricultural, alumni-elected, business and industry, and gubernatorial appointees – will be able to form a voting majority of the full board without securing votes from others. The seats for at-large members will enable the Board to add specific areas of expertise and skill-sets to enhance the Board’s overall performance.

Last Updated November 14, 2014