Graduate eyes Penn State trustee seat

Published December 26, 2011

Madison, Wis., Dec. 26 – A Penn State alumnus announced his campaign for the Board of Trustees today, promising to bring leadership, integrity and transparency to the board.

Madison, Wis., resident Ryan Bagwell is making a run for the 32-member group because he disagrees with the board’s handling of the recent child sexual abuse scandal.

“My campaign is not a response to the firing of single individual,” he wrote in a letter to supporters. “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.”

In his announcement, Bagwell said he’ll propose rules that will encourage trustees to take a more active role in university business, as well as new ethical guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest.

He also pledged to create a “culture of transparency” at Penn State, which has come under fire for its refusal to make certain information public.

He opposes removing Penn State’s exemption to the state open records law because the law is too restrictive. As a private organization, Penn State can be even more open.

“I will work to make the university a leader in open government that surpasses the demands of Pennsylvania’s open records law,” he wrote.

Three alumni trustee seats are open this year. For a candidate to be listed on the April ballot, 50 alumni must nominate him or her by February 25th using the official university-supplied nomination form, which will be e-mailed to alumni on January 15.

Bagwell, 32, graduated in 2002 with bachelors degrees in journalism and music. After a newspaper career in Pennsylvania and Maryland, he transitioned to the technology industry, and is now a Web developer for a Washington, D.C. advertising agency.

Bagwell was a reporter for the Times Chronicle/Glenside News from 2003 – 2004, a weekly newspaper that covered a Philadelphia suburb. From 2004 – 2005, he wrote for the semi-weekly Maryland Gazette, in Glen Burnie, Md., before becoming The (Annapolis) Capital’s education reporter until 2007. From 2008 – 2009, he wrote for and produced The Arundel Muckraker, a local news Web site that covered Annapolis.

In 2010, he earned a Web development certificated from Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts, and became a full-time Web developer.

He grew up the Philadelphia suburb of Churchville, and graduated from Council Rock High School in Newtown, Pa.

Though he calls Annapolis home, Bagwell recently moved with his fianceé to Madison, Wis., where she’s pursuing a Ph.D. A May wedding is planned.

The full text of his letter to supporters follows.


Ryan Bagwell