Trustees move to diversify board in effort to become more inclusive

July 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —  The Penn State Board of Trustees voted today (July 17) to approve two measures designed to diversify the group’s membership, including setting a goal of at least 50% underrepresented groups on the board by 2025.

“I believe it’s important that we model inclusivity and embrace the power of diversity and belonging,” said Board of Trustees Chair Mark H. Dambly during the meeting. “The board is resolute in its commitment to work with President [Eric] Barron in our efforts to make Penn State the most inclusive and diverse community that we possibly can — one that is free of discrimination; one that embraces differences; and one that respects all individuals.”

The approved resolution seeks to diversify at least half of the board’s membership with individuals from racial, ethnic and gender underrepresented groups.

Currently, 32% of the board’s 38 seats are occupied by underrepresented groups.

The approved resolution also repurposes the standing Compensation Committee as the Equity and Human Resources Committee with a focus on advancing equity, inclusion and diversity at Penn State.

As part of its work, the repurposed committee may review pertinent policies and programs including, but not limited to:

  • Recruiting, enrolling, retaining and graduating students representing all aspects of diversity;
  • Enhancing diversity in the racial/ethnic and gender composition of faculty and staff at all levels;
  • Providing accessibility, accommodation and support for veterans and individuals with disabilities; and
  • Engaging qualified diversity business enterprises, including minority- and women-owned businesses, as suppliers of goods and services.

During the meeting, Dambly also recognized the work of the board’s oversight task force on racism, bias and community safety, led by trustee Brandon Short.

Barron hosted a June 29 virtual Town Hall on race and bias, and the University made a $10 million commitment to scholarships that will support diversity across the institution.

Barron also established the Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety. Community members are being urged to nominate individuals to serve on the commission and share ideas and input through a new website: Action Together: Advancing Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at Penn State at

On June 30, Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for educational equity, kicked off a three-part virtual diversity roundtable series “Toward Racial Equality at Penn State: Social Difference, Social Equity and Social Change” with “Race, Our Campus Climate and Workplace.” The second and third parts are scheduled for Sept. 8 and Nov. 5, respectively.

Last Updated July 17, 2020