PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Ben Novak: Don’t Vote a Ticket This Time, Vote for Gavin Keirans

In 1989, I was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees, the first of four terms and twelve years on the board. Last year, during my second run at returning to the board, I dropped out to support the PS4RS ticket because I felt that backing the Paterno family and unseating the incumbents was more important.

This year, however, I do not recommend voting for a ticket. We need Gavin Keirans on the Board. He is the best candidate I know who will thoughtfully and fearlessly tackle the issues that face our Penn State family. Let me explain.

During my time on the board, I spoke often on the role of students in the university structure, stating my belief that: “Penn State is a living body, and the student body is an important organ of that body. And just like your own body, when one organ is not functioning well—whether it be the heart, lungs or liver or brain—the entire body ceases to function well. I believe that the student body is an organ of Penn State which is as important to the health of the whole, and has as much to contribute, as the faculty, the administration, the Board of Trustees, the staff, and the alumni.”

After I left the board in 2001, I spent seven years teaching in Europe. When I returned to Penn State in the summer of 2008, I found the vital organs of the Student Body on life support. This is when I met Gavin Keirans, as he entered his first of two terms as Student Body President (one of the only persons ever to do that).

Gavin has a way of working with student leaders and administrators in Old Main that I had never seen before. He was a student of history who could repeat verbatim board decisions and Collegian archives from fifty years ago. I saw him reinvigorate student life in the face of impossible odds.

Gavin also believes in leading practices, and would spend his time researching what other universities are doing, so that Penn State would always be at the forefront. Having known hundreds of student leaders over the years, Gavin is far and away one of the best we have ever had.

Recently I sat with Gavin at one of the Mount Nittany Conservancy’s annual events. It soon became clear that I no longer was talking to Gavin the student leader, but rather a man who now cites financial analyses and shares stories of his travels and work from his consulting career at companies across the country. Some things, however, never change: Gavin still has the pulse of all of the issues facing the University and the student body, as well as being able to trade war stories with prominent members of the State College community.

If you believe in “voting the ticket,” then use that for two of your three spots. Just make sure to keep room for Gavin Keirans on your ballot. He won’t let you down.

About the Author


More by Ben

Let Me Tell You A Story About Graham Spanier

“From my philosophy-of-higher-education point of view, I found that there was a lot not to like about Spanier’s approach to University governance, and at first I resolved to vote against him.”


Tony Carr Experienced ‘Greatest Feeling Of His Life’ At NBA Draft

“Just to be able to hear my name called at the NBA Draft, it’s just a dream come true.” Penn State men’s basketball guard has reached the pinnacle of the sport — entering the NBA pro ranks after getting drafted Thursday night in Brooklyn by the New Orleans Pelicans. Carr, who had to wait around […]

Pelicans GM Excited To Bring In ‘Crafty’ Tony Carr

[VIDEO] New Orleans Pelicans Select Tony Carr In 2018 NBA Draft

Tony Carr First Nittany Lion Selected In NBA Draft Since 1999

Bundling Student Tickets And Offering Options: What Penn State Can Learn

Student Life

Student Farm To Commemorate Summer Solstice With Second Annual Celebration

Penn State’s Student Farm will celebrate the longest day of the year with tours and live music Thursday evening.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

Virtual Reality: Changing The Game At Penn State

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Pittsburgh-Based Burger Joint BRGR Opening State College Location

BRGR was able to strike a deal for the building in the past six months or so, as the new goal is to open Happy Valley location — the restaurant’s first outside of Pittsburgh — in early January 2019.

Bream Won’t Be Charged With Perjury

Tim Bream, the former live-in adviser for Beta Theta Pi fraternity, will not face a perjury charge for his testimony at a preliminary hearing in the case.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Don’t Like Penn State Student Ticket Policies? Change Them.

That potential lies as much in the hands of active, informed, and opinionated students as it does in those of the profit-driven athletic departments.

Send this to a friend