JOSEPH V "JAY" PATERNO
TRUSTEE PENN STATE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Trustee Election Statement
May 8, 2020
First, thanks to all the people who voted and participated in this Trustee Election. It was an honor to be re-elected this year.
This year we saw a significant rise in the number of votes cast. That is a reflection of our alumni and their love for and interest in Penn State during these uncertain times.
The weeks and months ahead will mean difficult decisions in a time of societal and economic changes. At Penn State we expect a commitment to excellence and the pursuit of success with honor, even when faced with daunting challenges. My hope is that I live up to the trust you’ve placed in me with your vote.
Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are facing uncertain times. Our job is to be your voice and every day we serve may we never forget that. The men and women of this Commonwealth and beyond have placed a trust in this University. We will work to be a positive force towards each new dawn for Penn State, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the world.
2020 Trustee Election Statement
Tough Times Mean Back To The Basics: Our Land-Grant Mission
A lot has happened in this country and here at Penn State since we submitted our Trustee Election Statements in late February. That is why we are taking the time for an update.
Historically, Penn State has endured tough economic times by focusing on this University’s core Land-Grant Mission, the very foundation of all we’ve done since 1855. Today we are called to do that once again. Our service to Penn State starts with that understanding.
With the added challenge of a global pandemic, decisions must also be driven by concerns for the safety of our students, faculty, staff and also the communities that neighbor all of our campuses. Everyone in this country must play a part and our University has a chance to be a leader.
Since the onset of this pandemic, the administration has consulted experts and sought feedback and input from the Board. It has been a time of constructive and productive engagement. But greater challenges await us, many with potentially long-lasting consequences.
The next several months and years are going to require real leadership and vision from this Board.
NOW more than ever EXPERIENCE MATTERS.
Our mission starts with educating students and continues through job placement where we’ve been a national leader. In the immediate future we must commit our first financial resources to that mission.
For the past few years we’ve held the line on in-state tuition, but to protect our core mission we’ll push to freeze all tuition. Yes we have more financial challenges now, but we must look inward for answers. The solutions we need to make Penn State more efficient at delivering our Land-Grant promise are here. We control our own destiny and now more than ever we will need experienced, engaged and committed Trustees.
Our Land-Grant mission also includes our service to the Commonwealth. From our commonwealth campuses, agricultural extension, innovation hubs, research and world campus we’ve been an engine of economic growth and stability for Pennsylvania. That too, must continue. The farmers, workforce and citizens of Pennsylvania need a strong Penn State.
While we’re proud to have helped take on the challenges of the past three years, they pale in comparison to what we face ahead. This Board of Trustees must be a rock of stability and integrity. Our Board must remain vigilant and engaged in our responsibility to this University’s future, a future represented by our students, alumni, faculty and staff.
A great coach and man always reminded us “When you get knocked down, think about getting up on the way down.” Getting up won’t be easy, there will be stumbles. It will be a steep and rocky ascent but if we do our part we will reach the summit once again.
It has been an honor to serve Penn State. Today we ask for your vote to continue leading through the next three years of change and challenge.
2020 Trustee Election Statement
February 25, 2020
At the 2017 Trustee Election Candidates’ Forum I stated: “I’m going to come in and extend an open hand. If they extend an open hand we’ll work together and make things happen.”
That path has proven fruitful. I supported initiatives to freeze in-state tuition and never voted to raise in-state tuition. In November 2017 I stood alone publicly calling out the board’s lack of diversity and lagging diversity indicators University-wide. That sparked board-level diversity and inclusion efforts for the board, students, faculty and staff.
We’ve worked together on key issues but big legacy issues are looming. Legacy issues require a sense of our University’s proud history and my life was spent learning from our University’s most visionary leaders.
This Board faces major decisions impacting our future. In coming years we’ll make decisions on our President, transformative campus building projects, the evolving delivery of on-line and Commonwealth Campus education, Penn State Health, Beaver Stadium and an existential challenge to the financial model for Intercollegiate athletics.
While we’ve held the line on in-state tuition, it’s time to find ways to reduce it. It’s time to end the Harrisburg blame game and understand we control the next generation’s destiny by finding internal efficiencies and savings. We should expand affordable tuition programs for our alumni legacy children. They are family and they belong here.
Being elected to Penn State’s Board of Trustees is and should always be a call to service, to represent first and foremost the interests of Penn State and its diverse coalition of constituents --the students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of this great University.
As Pennsylvania’s Flagship University we’re still rooted in the Morrill Act enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. For over a century and a half that call to service has crossed generations. From the Delaware River to Lake Erie and from the Alleghenies to the Poconos together we can create and inspire excellence for Penn State and the Commonwealth.
While we’ve done a lot to carry your voices on this Board more work remains as we chart the future course for Penn State. I ask for your vote to continue serving Penn State.