Governor Tom Corbett announced yesterday two nominations for the Penn State Board of Trustees — Cliff Benson and football letterman Todd Rucci. The pair will replace Ira Lubert and Alvin Clemens, both of whom notified Corbett of their desire to step down from the board. Clemens and Lubert’s terms have expired, but they will continue to serve until Benson and Rucci are confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate.
“Cliff Benson and Todd Rucci are great examples of the type of people it takes to lead one of the commonwealth’s great learning institutions,” Corbett said. “Their experiences and knowledge of Penn State University is second to none.”
After graduating from Penn State, Benson earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a Masters of Law in Taxation from NYU. Benson currently works as chief development officer for the Buffalo Sabres (alongside many notable alumni, including Terry Pegula and Joe Battista). He was instrumental in securing Pegula’s initial $88 million donation to build a state-of-the-art hockey arena on Penn State’s campus.
The career attorney and CPA worked for Deloitte Tax LLP for 37 years, including 10 years as lead client service partner. He became partner in 1981 and worked in the New York and South Florida offices before transferring to Pittsburgh and retiring in May 2010.
Benson has a passion for serving the community, actively involving himself in charities for most of his career. He especially enjoyed working with charities that benefit inner city children with limited opportunities and made three trips to Haiti to bring medical relief after the devastating 2010 earthquake. He is affiliated with Hasek’s Heroes, SABAH, Imani Christian Academy, Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, and Silver Ring Thing.
“Cliff’s record of responsibility and stability will prove beneficial to all of the Penn State community,” Corbett said. “I am extremely confident in Cliff’s ability to serve the Board of Trustees successfully.”
Corbett’s other nominee, Rucci, was a right tackle on Penn State’s football team from 1989-1992. He then played eight seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots. Rucci’s wife, Stacy, is also a Penn State alumnus and was an All-American in field hockey.
After retiring from the NFL, Rucci worked as the assistant vice president at Susquehanna Bank’s Private Banking/Sports Division, where he helped professional athletes with banking services, investment management, and estate planning and trusts. He then served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery before working in his current capacity as a government and community relations officer with PAP Technologies.
“Todd Rucci’s extensive experience in the public and private sector, as well as his history with Penn State make him a natural choice to move this university forward,” Corbett said. “I look forward to the new ideas and innovations that Todd will bring to the Board of Trustees.”
After Rucci and Benson are confirmed by the Senate, they will be two of Corbett’s six gubernatorial appointees.