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Board of Trustees Chairwoman Peetz Endorses Masser for Her Seat

by on December 19, 2012 1:44 PM

Following an announcement on Tuesday that current Penn State Board of Trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz will not seek re-election after being appointed president of BNY Mellon, an early frontrunner to succeed her emerged during a teleconference on Wednesday. 

Vice chairman Keith Masser was endorsed by both Peetz and James Broadhurst, chairman for the Legal, Governance and Compliance committee. 

On Tuesday night, all board members were made aware of the open position via a phone call and the election process was described to new members. All voting members are eligible to run for chairman and/or vice chairman of the board. 

Members were also provided with the Penn State Live press release announcing Peetz's decision to step away from the chairwomanship after only one year.

Peetz said she made her choice clear regarding who should be the next chair on Tuesday. 

"I said to the full board last night ... working with Keith the whole year, he's been tireless in his commitment to Penn State and keeping the board together," Peetz said.

"I certainly threw my hat in behind Keith last night." 

Broadhurst said he also supports Masser for the postion. Currently, no other board members have publicized their candidacy. 

Masser said he has already started the process of making changes necessary to accommodating the kind of schedule he would inherit should he be elected chairman, such as handing over administrative tasks and operational controls of his business to his daughter and son, both Penn State graduates. 

"I want to do all that I can to bring the university together," Masser said. There are challenges ahead, he said, such as working to make  Penn State more affordable for students. 

Peetz said she has no interest in running for the vice chair position, as she can not match the time commitment. 

"It's about half of a full-time job," Masser said. 

Broadhurst said the first steps toward electing a new chair and vice chair are already in place. On Wednesday, a notice was sent out to board members that if they are interested in running for a seat, they need to indicate their intent to Broadhurst by Dec. 28. Along with the notification, candidates need to submit a biographical sketch by the first week in January, which will subsequently be distributed to the rest of the board.

"We'll know by the end of the year who is running for the chair position," Broadhurst said. 

On the morning before the January board meeting, board members will be given the opportunity to ask candidates any questions before the election.

The actual voting is done by ballot and all voting members of the board will participate. The election will be held during the public board meeting on Jan. 18, Broadhurst said. 

Peetz said that in an effort to make the transition as easy as possible, she has offered to remain on the vision council as well as the presidential search committee, which is expected to name a candidate for the Penn State president position between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. 

Though competitiveness of the race has varied in the past, Broadhurst said he doesn't envision this election being too competitive. 

"I don't think there will be a lot of candidates," he said. 

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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