Ben Novak Drops out of Board of Trustees Race

Dr. Novak, No. 17 on this year’s Board of Trustees ballot, has decided to suspend his campaign and throw his support behind the three PS4RS and Paterno endorsed candidates to avoid vote fracturing.

Novak, a former trustee for 12 years himself, has as impressive of a resume as anyone on the ballot this year. A 1965 graduate, Novak served as the student body president during his time at Penn State and practiced law in Bellefonte for 30 years after that. He was instrumental in securing the funding necessary for Lion’s Paw to preserve Mount Nittany, and served as the first president of the Mt. Nittany Conservancy.

With a resume like that it’s not hard to understand why Novak was seen by many to have a real chance at winning this year, especially after a sixth place finish last year. Although he cannot be removed from the ballot at this point, he is asking his supporters who have not yet voted to support the three PS4RS candidates to ensure that neither incumbent will sneak though.

Here’s the full statement from Novak:

By far, the two most important issues in this Penn State alumni trustee election are restoring faith in university governance, and righting the injustice done to Joe and Sue Paterno. The Paterno family has endorsed the three candidates endorsed by PS4RS: Edward “Ted” Brown III, Barbara L. Doran, and William F. Oldsey. Since these have the confidence of the Paterno family, I wish to announce that I am terminating my campaign for trustee, and throwing all my support to them. I ask all alumni who would have voted for me to cast their votes for Brown, Doran, and Oldsey.

This particular election is vitally important. If any of the incumbents running this year is reelected, those trustees who have led the Board since November 2011 will take it as a confirmation of their actions. Since I believe that the current Board has been heading in the wrong direction, I feel that it is absolutely critical that the alumni speak with a united voice to elect three new trustees to join the three elected last year—Anthony Lubrano, Ryan McCombie, and Adam Taliaferro—to right the course.

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS) has done an outstanding job in creating a new type of alumni organization, which they have now incorporated in order to make it a permanent addition it to the rich mosaic of independent organizations that are part of the Penn State tradition. In addition, they have done a marvelous job of creating social networking among Penn State alumni. I believe that they have done much to deepen and strengthen Penn State spirit, for which we should all be grateful.

I deeply appreciate the support of so many fellow Penn Staters, especially those who have already cast votes for me. Part of the Old State Spirit, however, is a willingness to set aside our own concerns in favor what is best for Penn State. I believe this course of action best serves the shared goals of sending a clear message to the current board and restoring the dignity and honor of our Alma Mater.


Ben Novak, ’65 and ‘99g

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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