Board of Trustees election results announced

Six incumbent trustees and five new members were elected or appointed to serve on the Penn State Board of Trustees on May 7. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Six incumbent trustees and five new members were elected or appointed to serve on the Penn State Board of Trustees today (May 7).

University alumni elected Alvin de Levie and Steve Wagman as alumni trustees, and re-elected incumbent Brandon Short. Delegates of agricultural societies elected Donald Cairns and re-elected incumbent Chris Hoffman. 

Robert Fenza and Mary Lee Schneider were re-elected as trustees representing business and industry. Julie Anna Potts was re-elected as an at-large trustee, while Nicholas Rowland was elected as the board’s academic trustee. 

College of the Liberal Arts student Janiyah Davis was elected to the position of student trustee, a position she will hold for two years. Additionally, Randolph Houston will also assume a two-year seat on the board as the immediate past president of the Penn State Alumni Association, replacing Steven Wagman in that capacity.

Alvin de Levie. De Levie is an attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Alvin de Levie, with offices across Pennsylvania in State College, Philadelphia, Clearfield, Bellefonte and Lock Haven. A 1973 Penn State alumnus, he earned a bachelor’s in political science and also holds a law degree from the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. He is a consistent supporter of Penn State THON and a number of local philanthropic organizations.

Brandon Short. Short is a 1999 Penn State graduate, and received his master of business administration from Columbia Business School in 2010. Short previously worked for Goldman Sachs in New York and Dubai, and he is currently a vice president at Round Hill Capital, a real estate private equity firm in London. A two-time captain of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team, he was named a consensus All-American linebacker in 1999, and after being drafted in 2000, played seven seasons in the NFL. While in the NFL, he was elected by his teammates as an NFL Players Association player representative.

Steven Wagman. Wagman is a 1982 Penn State graduate who first assumed a position on the Board of Trustees in 2019 as the immediate past president of the Penn State Alumni Association. He has worked in the health care industry for more than 30 years, and currently serves as the national health care business leader for Siemens Smart Infrastructure in North America. In addition to having served as Alumni Association president, Wagman’s service to Penn State also includes positions on the Alumni Association’s Alumni Council and executive board, the College of Health and Human Development alumni society board, the advisory board for the Penn State Center for Health Organization Transformation and as a student mentor within the College of Health and Human Development. 

Donald Cairns. Cairns is 1988 Penn State alumnus who owns and operates Cairns Family Farm in Chester County, a 1,600-acre crop farming operation. He also spent 13 years as a professional risk management consultant, developing risk management and insurance programs for large businesses and government agencies. Cairns serves as vice chairman of the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board and holds additional service positions with the Farm Bureau Legislative Committee and the USDA Service Agency County Committee.

Chris Hoffman. Hoffman was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees by Pennsylvania agricultural interest societies in 2015. He owns and operates both Lazy Hog Farms, a 4,800-head nursery barn and 4,400-head fishing barn in Juniata County, and Lazy Chick Farms, which raises 250,000 chickens annually. He has served on the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s state board of directors and executive committee, as well as the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation. His service history also includes positions with the Juniata County Farm Bureau, the American Farm Bureau, the Pennsylvania Nutrient Management Advisory Board, the PennAg Industries Association and the Fayette Township Fire Company.

Robert Fenza. Fenza was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees in 2015 representing business and industry. The retired chief operating officer for Liberty Property Trust, he is a 1980 Penn State alumnus who holds a bachelor’s in landscape architecture and real estate. He has been honored by the Penn State Alumni Association with the Distinguished Alumni Award and has also received the Alumni Fellow Award. Fenza’s service to Penn State includes previously leading the College of Arts and Architecture’s portion of the “For The Future” capital campaign, and he currently serves as vice chair for the “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” capital campaign.

Mary Lee Schneider. Schneider was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015 representing business and industry. She most recently worked as president and CEO at SG360°, a Chicago-area direct-marketing firm. She received a bachelor’s in journalism from Penn State in 1984 and a master of science degree in printing and image technology from Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as a Master of Business Administration and a master of science degree in medical informatics both from Northwestern University. Schneider was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 2006. She volunteers on the board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Leader Council of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

Julie Anna Potts. Potts is the president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute and was first elected to the Board of Trustees as an at-large trustee in 2015. She previously served the American Farm Bureau Federation in positions including general counsel, treasurer and executive vice president. She also previously served as chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee, and currently serves on the boards of Agriculture Future of America, the International Stockmen’s Educational Foundation and the International Meat Secretariat. She holds a bachelor of arts in English from Bryn Mawr College and a law degree from the George Washington University School of Law.

Janiyah Davis. Davis is a Schreyer Honors Scholar second-year student in the College of the Liberal Arts, studying public policy, criminology and psychology with minors in anthropology, sociology and child maltreatment and advocacy studies. She is as a member of Penn State’s Black Caucus and vice-president of the Student Restorative Justice Initiative, and serves as the university relations director for the Multicultural Association of Schreyer Scholars. She is also the community engagement director for Schreyer for Women, the special events director for Schreyer Scholar Ambassadors and a research assistant for the Rock Ethics Institute.

Nicholas Rowland. Rowland is a professor of sociology at Penn State Altoona. He holds a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Indiana University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, each in sociology. A decorated instructor, Rowland has been recognized by Penn State with the Excellence in Classroom Teaching Award, the Grace D. Long Award for Faculty Excellence and the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2017, he was named the University’s first faculty scholar in the Engaged Scholarship Academy and joined the Schreyer Institute of Teaching Excellence as a faculty fellow. He is a member of the Penn State Faculty Senate, for which he served as chair for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Randy Houston. Houston has served Penn State as the 81st president of the Penn State Alumni Association, with a term than runs through June 30, 2021. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Penn State in 1991 and holds a doctoral degree in law from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Houston is an intellectual property and entertainment lawyer with nearly 25 years of experience, as well as a formally trained musician and composer, playwright and activist with more than 35 years of experience as a creative artist. He has also served Penn State as a member of the board of directors of the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Society, on Alumni Council as president of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society and as a member of the Alumni Association’s executive board and chair of its diversity and inclusion committee.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees is composed of six members appointed by the governor, nine members elected by alumni, six members elected by agricultural societies, six members elected by the board representing business and industry endeavors, one student trustee, one academic trustee, three at-large trustees, and the immediate past president of the Penn State Alumni Association. In addition, five members are ex-officio by right of their office, including Gov. Thomas W. Wolf (non-voting), Penn State President Eric J. Barron (non-voting), Secretary of Agriculture Russell C. Redding, acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega and Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources Cynthia A. Dunn.

For more information on Penn State's board members, visit the Penn State Board of Trustees website.

The total distribution of the votes cast in the alumni election are listed below by the position of the candidates on the ballot.

  1. Steven B. Wagman — 9,730
  2. Alvin F. de Levie — 9,688
  3. Bridget M. Lasda — 8,171
  4. Jim Bognet — 7,016
  5. Laurie A. Stanell — 9,634
  6. Brandon Short — 14,299

Write-In Ballots – 1,068

Total Eligible Voters – 710,381

Total Ballots Cast – 22,297 (105 Mail-In)



Last Updated May 17, 2021