Having served in the Pennsylvania State Senate for 31 years for the state's 30th district, former senator and Lt. Gov. Robert Jubelirer thought 2006 would be his last election campaign — until he decided on a bid for one of the three alumni seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees this year.
Jubelirer, current chairman of the government affairs practice for Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, received his undergraduate degree from Penn State in 1959, as well as a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law in 1962.
The longest serving president pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate — posting almost 21 years in this position — he also served as lieutenant governor for 15 months.
In reflecting on the recent events surrounding the university, Jubelirer takes issue with Penn State being linked to a football culture when it possesses “a superb worldwide reputation.” Citing top-notch professors and administrators, he said Penn State is “one of the greatest universities in the world where people will really want to attend and the standards are really high” and believes that should be promoted.
“There are those that try to tarnish it, but they can’t take away what we have,” he said.
As far as structural and operational reform for the board, he said that more transparency and a reduced size of the board will render it more effective and responsible. While he does not take issue with the president and governor sitting on the board, he supports stripping them of their voting power.
Having always questioned the Freeh Report, Jubelirer said it “boggles his mind” the board said they never accepted former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigation into Penn State’s handing of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.
Jubelirer added that what has transpired was “an absolutely horrendous situation that happened because of one man who is where he belongs.” He said, nevertheless, students, the university and those who had nothing to do with Sandusky are being penalized.
Regarding the NCAA’s sanctions against the football program, he said that while Penn State may not have as many scholarships to offer, “it has more than that and we have coaches that have bought into that program of academics over athletics.” He said, from Joe Paterno to Bill O’Brien, education has always been and will always be success with honor.
"No coach will ever coach at Penn State that doesn’t adopt that philosophy,” he said.
Asked whether he has the time to invest in the university though he still works, he said he is poised to commit his time and efforts to the university.
Trustee Anthony Lubrano said via email he met Jubelirer in 2005 at the groundbreaking for Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. While serving in the state legislature, he said, “Bob” was always a strong supporter of Penn State.
“He reached out to me to get my thinking on his running for the board. I encouraged him to do so as he is eminently qualified to serve as a trustee. He has the experience in governance and legislative affairs, a great love for Penn State and he has the time to commit to such an undertaking,” Lubrano wrote.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said via email that there are advantages to any of the candidates that choose to run.
"It can only be seen as a positive for the University as more people take an interest in Penn State's success and its future,” she said.
Jubelirer, calling his relationship with Penn State a “love affair,” said he is wired to be an activist, pointing to his deeply instilled pride for the university.
“I’m proud of the fact that, when I walk with a Penn State hat on or a Penn State sweatshirt, somebody sees me and they come up and say, ‘Boy we are rooting for you guys to get through all this,’ ” he said.