The size and composition of the Board of Trustees has not changed since 1951. The names of trustees currently serving on the Board are included on the Membership List and Biographical Information is available for each. The terms of all regularly elected or appointed trustees begin on July 1 of the year of election or appointment.
Penn State's 32-member Board of Trustees is composed of the following: Five trustees serve in an ex officio capacity by virtue of their position within the University or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They are the President of the University; the Governor of the Commonwealth; and the state secretaries of the departments of Agriculture; Education; and Conservation and Natural Resources. Six trustees are appointed by the Governor; nine trustees are elected by the alumni; six are elected by organized agricultural societies within the Commonwealth; and six are elected by the Board of Trustees representing business and industry endeavors.
The Charter, Bylaws, and Standing Orders of the University provides for the selection or election of trustees; specific items relating to governance responsibilities are:
- Qualifications for Membership
- Statement of Trustees Responsibilities
- Statement of Expectations of Membership
Trustees Appointed by the Governor
As the name implies, gubernatorial trustees are appointed at the discretion of the governor of the Commonwealth, two each year for three-year terms "and until their successors are appointed and confirmed." Such gubernatorial appointments are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
Trustees Elected by the Alumni
Alumni trustees are elected, three each year for three-year terms, by the following procedure: On or before January 15 each year, nominating ballots are sent (1) to all alumni of the University who have, within two years prior to March 1 of each year, been either active members of the Penn State Alumni Association or contributors to the Penn State Fund, or (2) to any other alumni who make a request in writing for a ballot.
Qualified alumni who receive 50 or more nominating votes, and who accept the nomination in writing, have their names placed on an election ballot which is sent to the alumni (specified in the paragraph above) on or before April 10. At a time specified by the Board during spring commencement week, the ballots are tabulated in the presence of two trustee tellers. The three candidates receiving the highest number of votes are declared elected.
Trustees Elected by Agricultural Societies
Agricultural trustees are nominated and elected by ballot, at a meeting held on the University Park Campus at a time specified by the Board of Trustees during spring commencement week, with a member of the Board presiding. Two trustees are elected each year by delegates representing county agricultural societies. Societies shall endeavor to select delegates that reside in the counties they represent. The balloting is supervised by trustee tellers, and the two nominees receiving the highest number of votes are declared elected.
Trustees Elected by Business and Industry
Business and Industry trustees are elected by the Board of Trustees. The Selection Group on Board Membership for Business and Industry Trustees shall recommend two candidates for membership on the Board of Trustees annually representing business and industry endeavors following a review of nominations received from a broad-based, open nomination process. Nomination forms must be submitted to the Office of the Board of Trustees by the deadline specified.