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Joel Myers says Forward-Looking Approach Better than PS4RS Mission

by on February 24, 2014 6:45 AM

Penn State Trustee Joel Myers says he wants to continue on the board after 33 years to help ensure the university keeps moving forward.

Myers says other other candidates want to focus on the past, specifically how the university handled the Sandusky scandal and reacted in the aftermath.

However, he argues it is more beneficial for the university to focus on how to make the school better. That means, he says, focusing on the hiring of a new president, the hiring of a new football coach, an increase in student applicants, and an increase in research dollars.

"This didn't happen by chance ... and given the storm, the turmoil we went through over last two years, it's pretty amazing," Myers says. "Many institutions would have suffered a death blow from what happened and we're on the upswing and that's a testimony of so many positive things that have happened here. You can't do anything about the past, but we certainly can make sure we have a bright future."

Specifically, Myers takes issue with the approach of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS). One of the group's goals is to remove board members "who were responsible for the mishandling of the university's role in and response to the Jerry Sandusky saga," according to the group's mission statement.

Myers says the group has an "irrational infatuation with the past." Most recently, Myers took issue with a statement the group released following the board's hiring of Eric Barron as the next president at Penn State.

In the statement, PS4RS calls for Barron to immediately take action to correct errors made by the outgoing administration.

"I'm not saying don't correct things that are wrong. We do that at AccuWeather and Penn State has tried to do that, too," Myers says. "All smart organizations do that, but you don't start off a with new administration and say, 'don't do anything until you figure out what the other guys did wrong.' That is a backwards approach. It's not constructive to the future of the university."

PS4RS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Myers, who announced Wednesday he is seeking another term, says his lengthy background with Penn State as a board member and former faculty member, as well as his experience leading AccuWeather, make him an asset at a time when the board has seen a lot of turnover.

"I think it s a very critical time for Penn State and, obviously, we have a bright future, but we need to navigate it well," Myers says.

Myers says he offers a unique perspective on the board, in part, because he has been in State College since completing his undergraduate degree. Additionally, he says his experience as founder of AccuWeather puts him in a position to help move Penn State forward in several areas.

"AccuWeather has been successful because we've been visionaries, we have changed and morphed and grown in a very difficult environment ... and we continue to grow in very competitive environment," Myers says. "We have been able to survive and grow in those 52 years because we focused on the future."

Myers says the success at AccuWeather is transferable to higher education, helping Penn State adapt to the impact digital media and have it transform the university in a positive way from teaching to learning.

"I believe I have the vision and the assets in order to help Penn State navigate through this difficult time and the impact digital media will have on higher education," Myers says. "We need to find ways to make courses more valuable, exciting."

Additionally, Myers says he wants to help Penn State thrive at a time when the cost of education is increasing, student loans from the government will likely decline and government research dollars are becoming more competitive.

"The challenges facing higher education over the next several years are going to be greater than they've ever been," Myers says.

The trustee election is in the nomination phase. Candidates cannot appear on the ballot until they receive at least 50 nominations by Feb. 25. Voting begins April 10. Winners will be announced May 9.

Editor's note: Joel Myers is the father of Dan Myers. Dan Myers is the owner of LazerPro Digital Media Group, the parent company of StateCollege.com.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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