Anthony Lubrano, perhaps the most ardent and vocal supporter of football coach Joe Paterno on Pennsylvania State University’s board of trustees, has announced he won’t seek re-election to a third three-year term.
Lubrano, a Glenmoore businessman who frequently clashed with board leadership over the university’s direction, cited “family and business demands” in a statement Monday announcing his decision.
“I also believe, after almost six years, that the university would be better served by the injection of new blood into the board of trustees,” said Lubrano, who graduated from Penn State in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
But Lubrano said in a phone interview that he will continue to push for change in the way the state-supported university is run and governed, now focusing his efforts on the legislative level.
“I am leaving the board, but I’m not going away,” said Lubrano, president of a financial services and wealth management firm in Paoli.
Lubrano was part of a slate of trustees elected to the board by alumni in May 2012, six months after Jerry Sandusky’s arrest on child sex abuse charges, as criticism mounted over the board’s handling of the scandal.
He frequently blasted the board leadership for failing to defend former university leaders charged with covering up Sandusky’s crimes and for firing Paterno for not doing more to stop his former assistant football coach. Lubrano repeatedly and publicly called on the university to honor Paterno’s legacy after his death in 2012, and in his statement Monday again raised Paterno’s name.
“I love Penn State … ,” he said. “I now better understand why Joe Paterno stayed for 61 years – YOU!”
Lubrano said he will be freer to lobby for changes, including making the 38-member Penn State board smaller, if he is not a member.
“I won’t have to worry about them thinking I violated expectations of membership,” Lubrano said.
Lubrano also headed a charge by alumni-elected trustees to sue the university for access to materials used in preparation for the blistering investigative report by former FBI director Louis Freeh that concluded – in Lubrano’s opinion falsely – that former university leaders conspired in a cover up of Sandusky’s crimes. Trustees eventually got access to the materials.
Lubrano’s seat was one of three alumni-elected seats, out of a total of nine, open on the board. Incumbent Ryan McCombie, a retired U.S. Navy captain, also has announced he won’t seek re-election. Incumbent Robert J. Tribeck, a lawyer, is running. Last spring, Paterno’s son, Jay, was elected by alumni to the board.
Despite past tensions, board Chairman Mark Dambly – who, along with former board chairman Keith Masser, have led efforts to have the university take responsibility for its role in the scandal and to enact reforms to prevent another predator from gaining access to the campus – thanked both Lubrano and McCombie for their service “and their passion for the issues that they felt strongly about.”
University president Eric Barron said in a one-sentence statement: “As with all board members who give their time and energy to serve Penn State, I thank him and wish him well in the future.”
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, an alumni group that has supported Lubrano and McCombie and also has been critical of board leadership, praised the men for their service.
“When the truth and facts are finally written about this sad saga, Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie will firmly
and undoubtedly be on the right side of history,” said Maribeth Roman Schmidt, the group’s spokeswoman.