State System Board of Governors

State System Board of Governors


State System of Higher Education
Dixon University Center, 2986 N. Second St.
Harrisburg, PA 17110

The Board of Governors is responsible for planning and coordinating development and operation of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). It establishes broad educational, fiscal and personnel policies, and oversees the efficient management of PASSHE. Among other tasks, it appoints the chancellor and university presidents, approves new academic programs, sets tuition and coordinates and approves the annual PASSHE operating budget.

Board Members

Gov. Tom Corbett, Harrisburg, PA
Mr. Corbett is Governor of Pennsylvania. The former state Attorney General and a life-long resident of the Commonwealth, Mr. Corbett has been a key advisor to U.S. Presidents and Governors.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Corbett served President Ronald Reagan as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, specializing in prosecuting organized crime and drug cases. He was named as one of the first members of President Reagan's National Drug Task Force.

Following several years of private law practice, Corbett was called back to public service in 1989, when President George H.W. Bush appointed him to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In the 1990s, Corbett provided criminal law and policy expertise to then-Congressman Tom Ridge, later filling several key roles in Governor Ridge's administration. Corbett planned the Governor's successful special session on crime and was appointed to chair the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, shaping criminal justice policy and working to improve drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation programs across the state.

In 1995, Corbett was appointed by Governor Ridge as Attorney General to fill the remainder of the current term. In 1997, he again returned to private practice, forming his own law firm, Thomas Corbett and Associates, which specializes in consultation and government relations. He continued that private practice until his election as Pennsylvania Attorney General in November 2004. He was re-elected in 2008.

Mr. Corbett's accomplishments as Attorney General brought him national recognition. Most notable were his efforts to protect children from internet predators, seniors from fraud and abuse, communities from gangs and the violence associated with illegal drugs and the citizens of Pennsylvania from abuse of power and government corruption.

Mr. Corbett served as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard 28th Infantry Division from 1971 until 1984, rising from private to captain. He received his undergraduate degree from Lebanon Valley College and taught civics and history in Pine Grove Area High School in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. In 1975, he received his law degree from St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.

He and his wife Susan are the proud parents of two children: Tom a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, and Katherine, a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office.

Kenneth M. Jarin, Newtown
Kenneth M. Jarin is a partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. He represents both public and private employers in the areas of labor relations, contract negotiations, interest arbitration, employment discrimination litigation, and wage and hour disputes. Mr. Jarin earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from Temple University. He served on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts, having been appointed by President Clinton. He also serves on the board of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, one of the premier arts organizations in the city.

Bonnie L. Keener, Edinboro, PA
Ms. Keener was elected Cal U.’s SGA president in 2010. A senior liberal studies major with a minor in leadership and business, she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Student Association Inc. at Cal U., which oversees a variety of student activities and business operations. She is an orientation leader and a peer mentor.

Ms. Keener has been active in numerous campus events and activities, having twice planned and participated in “The Big Event,” a day of service where more than 300 students go into the community to assist residents with a variety of projects. Keener also has participated in the National Conference on Student Leadership, as well as Cal U.’s Convocation and Mission Day programs. She is the recipient of multiple scholarships, including the Bill and Candace Booker Student Leadership Scholarship and the SAI Student Leadership Scholarship.

C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni, Bryn Mawr
Mr. Pennoni is chairman of the board of Pennoni Associates Inc. of Philadelphia, a consulting engineering firm he founded in 1966. He also served for a year as president of Drexel University and is chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees. He has both bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering and an honorary doctorate from Drexel. He has served as a guest speaker and lecturer at Drexel, Temple, Villanova and Widener universities, as well as at Texas A&M University, Purdue University, Swarthmore College, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pavia, Italy. He has served on the engineering advisory boards of Widener University, University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University and on the advisory board of the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation. He has been licensed as a professional engineer in 11 states, has been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and is past president of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology and a past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is Chair of the Board of Governors' Finance, Administration and Facilities and Information Technology committees..

Aaron A. Walton, Allison Park
Aaron A. Walton is a retired senior vice president of Highmark Inc. of Pittsburgh. He was responsible for administering Highmark’s public relations and social mission strategy and overseeing the departments of Community Affairs, Community Health and Strategic Health Initiatives. He is vice chair of the Council of Trustees at California University of Pennsylvania and previously served as the chair from 1999-2003. Mr. Walton holds a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from California University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. He is chair of the Board of Governors' Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

Leonard B. Altieri III, Newton Square, PA
Mr. Altieri is president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania's Student Government Association. He is a junior at West Chester, where he is a political science major. He was elected president of WCU’s Student Government Association in the spring. He previously served as co-chair of the organization’s Legislative Affairs Committee and as a senator.

Matthew E. Baker, Wellsboro
Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1992 and re-elected five times, Mr. Baker represents the citizens of Bradford and Tioga Counties. In the House, Mr. Baker is a member of the Appropriations Committee, as well as the committees on Aging and Older Adult Services, Commerce and Economic Development, and Tourism and Recreation Development. He is a graduate of Elmira College and attended Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah C. Darling, Lancaster, PA
Ms. Darling of Lancaster was elected president of Millersville’s Student Senate in Spring 2010. A senior speech communications and public relations major, she also serves as an elected student representative to the University Honors College Committee, University Dining Committee and University Sustainability Committee, and as a member of the state Department of Education’s College Textbook Policies Advisory Committee.

Ms. Darling has been active in a variety of other campus activities and is a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and Millersville University Christian Fellowship. She also attended the 2009 National Conference of Student Government Associations at Texas A&M University.

Paul S. Dlugolecki, Mechanicsburg
Dlugolecki is minority executive director of the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee, a position he has held since 1987. Previously, he spent eight years as director of the Senate Democratic Research Office and has worked for the Senate since 1973. He is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures Fiscal Affairs and Legislative Oversight Committee and the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Officers, serving as the organization's president in 1998. Dlugolecki is a graduate of Shippensburg University.

Richard Kneedler, Lancaster
Kneedler is president emeritus of Franklin & Marshall College. He also served as chairman of the Governor's Commission on Training America's Teachers and as interim president of Rockford College. He earned an undergraduate degree in French from Franklin & Marshall and both master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on boards of education-related organizations at regional, state and national levels, including the Association of Independent College and Universities of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities.

Michael K. Hanna, Lock Haven
Mr. Hanna was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and has been re-elected seven times. He represents portions of Clinton and Centre counties. He is a member of the House Finance, Game and Fisheries and Tourism and Recreational Development committees. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Mr. Hanna is a graduate of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and a former member of its Council of Trustees. He earned his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Ronald G. Henry, Bryn Mawr, PA
Mr. Henry is a senior consultant with Capitol Strategies Group, LLC, of Harrisburg, and is an independent consultant in the areas of public finance, organization and management. He served as chairman of the Corbett-Cawley Budget, Revenue and Pensions Transition Committee. He also is a member of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He is a former assistant attorney general and counsel to the state Department of Commerce and was special counsel and assistant to Lieutenant Governor Ernest P. Kline. He is Chair of the Board of Governors' Audit Committee.

Vincent J. Hughes, Philadelphia
Hughes was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1994 in a special election and has been re-elected twice. He is the Democratic chairman of the Communications and High Technology and Public Health and Welfare committees and a member of the Appropriations, Education, Military and Veterans Affairs and Policy committees. He attended Temple University and is the recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from Cheyney University. Hughes is a member of numerous boards, including the Center for Human Advancement, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and Cheyney University Wade Wilson Scholarship Fund.

Ryan R. Jerico, Canonsburg
Jerico is a senior majoring in science and technology with a minor in leadership studies at California University. He is president of CU's Student Government Association. Previously, he served as the organization's financial secretary. He also is president of the Student Association Inc., which owns and operates the student bookstore and residence halls at CU and provides a variety of student services, and is vice chairperson for community service of the Board of Student Government Presidents.

Jonathan B. Mack, Indiana, PA
Mr. Mack is an attorney and partner in the firm of Marcus & Mack, P.C., of Indiana. He has been a local business owner and has owned and operated businesses in Boulder, Colo.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Spokane, Wash. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toledo School of Law in 1983 and a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College in 1980 with majors in English and Spanish and a minor in geology. He is a member of the Council of Trustees at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is Chair of the Board of Governors' External Relations Committee.

Joseph F. McGinn, Linwood
Mr. McGinn is a lifelong resident of Delaware County, where he is serving his fifth year as sheriff. He helped to create the Southeast Pennsylvania Sheriff's Caucus, which has helped to reduce costs and improve services through the utilization of synergies across county lines. McGinn is member of the National Sheriff's Association Homeland Security Committee and a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Vietnam War. In recognition of his service, McGinn was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Stars and the Good Conduct Medal. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Temple University and Master of Education degree from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

Jeffrey E. Piccola, Harrisburg
Mr. Piccola has served in the state Senate since 1995. He is chairman of the Senate Education Committee and also is a member of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Judiciary and Rules and Executive Nominations committees. He served as Senate majority whip, the third ranking Republican in the chamber, from 2001 to 2006. He previously served in the House of Representatives for 19 years. Mr. Piccola is a graduate of Gettysburg College and the George Washington University School of Law.

Guido M. Pichini, Wyomissing
Mr. Pichini is president of Security Guards Inc. and its subsidiaries, WSK and Associates Consulting Group and Vigilant Security Services, all of Wyomissing. He is a member of the Council of Trustees at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and former chair of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (PACT). Mr. Pichini graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in education/political science, and completed graduate studies in public administration at Kutztown. He also graduated from Wilson College with certification in the minor judiciary, attaining the highest grade in the history of Pennsylvania.

Edward G. Rendell, Harrisburg
Rendell is governor of Pennsylvania. He previously served two terms as mayor of the City of Philadelphia and two terms as the city's selected district attorney. An Army veteran, Rendell is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova Law School. He also has taught courses in government and politics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Harold C. Shields, Allison Park
Mr. Shields is chair of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees. He is the principal in Harold C. Shields HR Consulting LLC. Previously, he was Human Resources Director of Global Business Services and HR Director of Pittsburgh Resource Units for Alcoa in Pittsburgh. He also worked for the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Erie, a self-help program founded in Philadelphia by the late Leon H Sullivan. He was the first African-American elected to the Erie City School Board and served a term as president. He is a member of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Foundation’s board of directors and a past member of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Alumni Board. He earned both a bachelor’s and masters degree from Edinboro.

Thomas M. Sweitzer, Swarthmore
Sweitzer has been a member of the Council of Trustees at Lock Haven University since 2005. He attended Pennsylvania State University as an undergraduate and later Temple University for graduate studies. He is a partner in The Campaign Group, a Philadelphia-based advertising agency he helped found 28 years ago. He has worked on more than 400 political campaigns across the country, has lectured at both Temple and the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert S. Taylor, New Hope, PA
Mr. Taylor is chairman and chief executive officer of Cameron Companies, LLC, a diversified holding company specializing in business and government affairs consulting, real estate investment and acquisition, legal affairs and turnaround management. He is a 1978 graduate of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and a member of the university’s Council of Trustees. Taylor is a graduate of Temple University School of Law. He has been a White House appointee to the Environmental Protection Agency, a trustee in bankruptcy in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a staff attorney to the Pennsylvania Worker's Compensation Appeal Board. He coordinated the 1980 George Bush for President campaign in Pennsylvania and was state director of the Reagan-Bush 1984 re-election campaign. He also has served on the boards of several Pennsylvania companies and charitable organizations, as well as the Slippery Rock Foundation Inc., and the Regional Learning Alliance Inc.

Ronald J. Tomalis, Harrisburg, PA
Mr. Tomalis is Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Previously, he was director at Dutko Worldwide/Whiteboard Advisors, where he was the principal adviser to numerous nonprofit education groups and foundations, along with for-profit education related companies. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Executive Deputy Secretary of Education under Governor Tom Ridge. Mr. Tomalis also served as counselor to the United States Secretary of Education and as Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Dickinson College.

Christine J. Toretti, Indiana
Toretti is chairman and CEO of the S. W. Jack Drilling Company, president of The Jack Company and managing partner of C&N Company and C&N Company No. 2, all based in Indiana, Pa. A graduate of the University of Virginia, she has served as president of the Foundation for Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). IUP's Nell and Sam Jack Distinguished American Lecture Series was established by the Jack family in 1984. A member of the S&T Bank Board of Directors, she chairs the audit committee and serves on the executive committee. Toretti also sits on boards for the NCAA Foundation, International Medical Corps and the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum Foundation, among others.

Sen. John T. Yudichak, Nanticoke
Mr. Yudichak was elected to the Senate in November 2010. He is the Democratic Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of the Aging and Youth, Appropriations, Local Government and Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness committees. He also is a member of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the Joint Legislative Conservation Committee. He previously served for 13 years in the House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in American Studies.​

Gerald L. Zahorchak, Harrisburg
Zahorchak is Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education. He previously served as Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education and was superintendent of the Greater Johnstown School District. He is a graduate of St. Francis University, holds a master's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.


Eleven board members are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor of Pennsylvania. Their appointments are confirmed by the state Senate. Three students, selected from among the universities' student government association presidents, serve on the board until graduation. Four legislators are selected by the majority and minority leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives.

The Governor of Pennsylvania or a designee also is a board member, as is the state secretary of education or a designee. The board meets at least four times a year. Meetings of the Board of Governors are subject to the Pennsylvania Public Agency Open Meeting Law.