After Board of Trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz announced she will not seek re-election, many board members said they have been pleased with her one-year term. Though they said her leadership will be missed, trustees say they're confident in the potential of other members.
Peetz has accepted a position as president of BNY Mellon but will remain a voting member of the Penn State Board of Trustees.
Prior to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case, the board practiced a two-year term as vice chair, followed by a two-year term as chair, former student trustee Rodney Hughes wrote in an email. Because of the case, this practice has been eliminated, and there has been an increased intensity of Peetz's position, he said. Also, Hughes said that Peetz and Keith Masser, current vice chairman, stepped into their positions with increased scrutiny and responsibility.
“Some of the time intensity consequences, especially constituent contact, must be seen as positive consequences,” he wrote. “The position probably will not again look the way it looked in the past.”
Board member Keith Eckel said he was disappointed the board will not benefit from Peetz’s leadership in the future. But he said he was delighted that, despite her new responsibilities, Peetz will continue to be an active member of the board. He added that Peetz will continue to oversee the search for a new university president -- a task expected to be finished by late 2013 or early 2014.
“I believe that her serving has been very positive for the university and I also have the highest level of confidence in Keith Masser, our vice chair,” Eckel said. “I believe that Karen has kept Keith totally involved in all of the leadership and decision-making processes in the past year, and because of that, I am very confident of the future.”
Peetz said in a Penn State Live press release that there are many capable leaders on the board, adding that Masser has indicated his interest in running for the chair position.
Trustee Carl Shaffer said he was also happy to hear of Peetz's new employment opportunity, because he believes she is a qualified individual. Despite this, Shaffer said the board will not suffer from Peetz's decision not to run for re-election.
“We have a lot of qualified individuals on the board that will be able to take her place as chairman,” he said.
Peetz was unable to be reached for comment.