The Penn State Board of Trustees granted Al Clemens and Keith Eckel trustee emeritus status Friday based on committee recommendation. Both Clemens and Eckel were Trustees during the 2011 Sandusky scandal fallout.
Clemens was appointed to the Board by Governor Tom Ridge in 1995. Although his term expired in 2012, he remained a member of the board in absence of another appointment from Governor Tom Corbett until he resigned in March 2014. Upon his resignation, Clemens expressed both pride in helping Penn State grow during his 18-year tenure and remorse in firing Joe Paterno in what he called “a rush of injustice.” He is the only trustee who has said publicly he made a mistake voting to fire Paterno.
Eckel received the Master Farmer award from Penn State in 1982. He is also a former board member of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Boared, and the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau for 15 years and was also vice president of the Pennsylvania Council of Cooperative Extension Associations.
Clemens and Eckel will join the current 29 Trustees Emeriti on the board. For the next six years, they will be invited to attend public meetings, but not executive sessions, standing committees, or any meetings where attorney-client privileged discussions are held, according to bylaws. After six years, a trustee emeritus will maintain his or her title but will not maintain any other privileges.