Update from Chairman Peetz - August 1, 2012

The past month has been an unusually challenging one for all of us.  What we have learned requires a renewed sense of unity and resilience as we move forward.  But this past month has also brought an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our university, its academics, and its athletics. This can and must be a new chapter for Penn State.

July witnessed the release of the Freeh report, and the scope of this investigation was expansive. No one at Penn State was exempt from this review.  As we have previously stated, Judge Freeh's report concluded that certain people at the University who were in a position to protect children or confront the predator failed to do so.  The investigation was intended to identify where failures occurred and what changes should be made for the future.  It is with this spirit that we will thoroughly assess the report and its recommendations to develop a roadmap of changes to implement as we move forward.

Following on the heels of the Freeh report, the NCAA imposed harsh sanctions on the University. The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. However, the alternatives were much worse, including a potential four-year death penalty, and we support President Erickson’s decision to accept the Consent Decree.  The University and the Board will comply with the NCAA’s sanctions.  We commit to transparently communicating about our compliance with those sanctions, and to continuing our efforts to build academic and athletic programs at the highest standards of excellence.

I must also say that, like all Penn Staters, we on the Board have been heartened by the character and commitment demonstrated by our student athletes and our coaches in recent days. I will be in the stands on September 1st at Beaver Stadium, and I hope many of you will be as well.

Penn State faces the future with unflinching optimism. Our students are some of the country’s finest, and they are coming to Penn State in record numbers this fall. Members of our faculty are responsible for some of the most exciting breakthroughs in science and medicine – and in a huge range of other fields, too. Our alumni are creating innovative businesses and non-profits that make a real difference in people’s lives. And our entire community is engaged in helping us move forward. We are reaching out to constituencies across the Penn State nation to communicate with you directly.  We are appreciative of the messages you’ve sent with your thoughts and suggestions – please know that I am personally reading all of them, and we are in the process of responding to each of you.

We have much to be proud of, and much to be hopeful about. One of our alumni, Troy Cromwell, may have put it best: Penn State is “still a great institution, it's still a great university, and it's our job to make it better.”

The nation has watched our University as the events of the last 9 months unfolded. Now is the time to watch us succeed.

Karen B. Peetz ’77

Chairman, Penn State Board of Trustees