Bagwell announces bid for Penn State Trustees

Published December 21, 2011

Dear friends,

The past several weeks have been tragic for members of the Penn State family. The sudden demise of a respected university president, two highly regarded administrators and a legendary coach shook us to our core. We helplessly watched as angry pundits across the country viciously attacked our alma mater and destroyed nearly everything we took pride in. But the most difficult aspect to understand was how such horrible acts were allowed to happen on and around our campus, and how those charged with protecting our most vulnerable fell short of stopping it.

None of us know precisely who to blame for the alleged acts of Jerry Sandusky, with the exception of Sandusky himself. But it is clear that a lack of leadership at all levels contributed to this crisis’ making, which can only be repaired with new vision and new perspective.

Today I’m proud to announce my campaign for the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University. If elected,  I pledge to restore Leadership, Integrity and Transparency to the board, and lead us into a new era of honesty and pride.

My campaign is not a response to the firing of single individual. It is the beginning of an effort to restore honor, class and prestige to the Board of Trustees, which in the face of unimaginable tragedy failed to muster enough courage to prevent further harm to the Penn State family.

Unlike most of the 32 trustees, I am not a politician or the CEO of a major company. I am not a prestigious donor, nor am I a member of the so-called “good ‘ol boy’s” club. I am a former journalist who covered political and educational bodies for years, and makes a typical living building Web sites for major companies.

My plan to restore Penn State’s reputation begins with transforming the Trustees’ oversight role. Their rules of conduct must be reformed to encourage active involvement in university business, instead of the passive attitude that resulted in a slow, inept reaction to the recent events.

I will also propose new ethical guidelines to minimize Trustees’ conflicts of interest, and encourage board members to act in Penn State’s interest, instead of how outside influences demand.

Finally, we must act swiftly to create a culture of transparency and lift the veil of secrecy. Financial and other administrative documents should be presumed public, unless there is a sound reason to withhold such records. Employees must be allowed to speak freely about Penn State, without fear of retribution.  I will work to make the university a leader in open government that surpasses the demands of Pennsylvania’s open records law.

These are my promises to you. But I can’t enact them alone. I need your help to bring leadership, integrity and transparency back  to the Board of Trustees. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Be sure you’re registered with the office of the Board of Trustees, so that you receive an invitation to nominate me and vote in the general election. Send an e-mail to or call (814) 865-2521.
  2. Nomination ballots will be sent by e-mail to registered alumni on January 15th. Fifty people must nominate me by February 25th for my name to appear on the general ballot.
  3. Tell your friends about my campaign. Share links to my campaign’s Facebook page, “Follow” me on Twitter, or sign up for email alerts on my campaign Web site.
  4. Finally, vote for me in the general election, later in April.

None of my promises will be easy to keep. It will be a long, hard slog to restore Penn State’s reputation to what it was just a short time ago. But new leadership is essential for redemption to happen, and I will be honored to work toward that end with your support.

For the Glory,


Ryan Bagwell, ‘02