Matt McGloin Advocating For Students, Honoring Paterno Family Legacy In Board Of Trustees Campaign

As the saying goes, “Once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater.” For one alum and former Penn State football captain, this holds true.

Matt McGloin has taken what he’s learned at Penn State — on and off the field — to make a lasting impact on his surrounding communities through service and leadership. He hopes to do the same for his alma mater on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, raised by a community-orientated family, McGloin has always valued the importance of being an active member of his community and giving back. Going into college, he knew he wanted to be a leader in some shape or form.

While studying journalism at Penn State, McGloin quickly found himself embraced by a large, family-centric community and a part of the traditions he is still surrounded by today.

Joining the Nittany Lions as a preferred walk-on, he made his mark as team captain and quarterback for five years under Joe Paterno’s leadership. Through Paterno, McGloin learned more about being a teammate, a community member, a husband, and a father than football, preparing him for his future endeavors. He says his time on the football team with Paterno were “some of the most formative ones of his life.”

When Paterno died in 2012, McGloin knew he had to step up and not only lead his team but the surrounding Penn State community.

“I helped lead this school through one of the darkest periods that any university has ever faced,” McGloin said. “My commitment never wavered. It hasn’t since and it never will.”

After graduation, McGloin went on to compete in the NFL until 2018, playing for the Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs during his career as a pro. Throughout that time, in 2016, he founded the Matt McGloin Foundation to help youth, veterans, and those in need across northeastern Pennsylvania.

Following his NFL career, McGloin stepped away from the field, joining the Big Ten Network in 2021 as a college football analyst before moving over to the role of sideline reporter.

After reflecting on his experiences with creating his own foundation and working with local causes the Boys and Girls Club of Scranton and the Children’s Advocacy Center of northeastern Pennsylvania, McGloin knew he found his passion for serving communities and wanted to expand his missions.

“I think as you get older, and you start to have a family, you’re able to take a second and look back as you move into the next chapter of your life,” McGloin said. “One of the things I’ve realized is that I believe my calling is to serve.”

To this day, McGloin still wears several hats as he’s currently the chairman of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport joint board of management and a board member of the Lackawanna County Opioid Fund Settlement Committee, the Lackawanna County Prison Board, and the Agency for Community Empowerment. 

Through his community engagement and support, McGloin ended up running for Lackawanna County commissioner, where he currently oversees 30 departments, over 30 boards and authorities, more than 1,000 employees, and a budget north of $150 million.

McGloin says he’s taken on many leadership roles throughout his life that have prepared him for his current position in Lackawanna County.

“I’ve led as a student-athlete, I’ve led as a professional athlete day in and day out,” he said. “I now lead as an elected official who helped a governor county of over 216,000 residents. I’ve helped establish my own foundation. I like to think we’ve gone on to do some pretty good things here in Scranton, the greater Scranton area, and all throughout Northeast PA.”

McGloin hopes to give back to the Penn State community through the same way he has for his hometown with his Penn State Board of Trustees candidacy.

“Where I’m at today in life and all that I have is because I had the opportunity to be a student-athlete at Penn State University,” he said. “For me, this is how I give back to school that’s given me so much… The things that I’ve learned at Penn State were honor, loyalty, legacy, honesty, commitment to excellence, and that’s what I stand for.”

Having been in the shoes of a Penn State student himself, McGloin understands the day-to-day stress that comes with finances. He plans to make impactful and beneficial changes on behalf of the student body, promoting financial literacy. Joining forces with candidate Alvin de Levie, the pair plans to advocate for an affordable education for all students.

One of the biggest areas that McGloin and de Levie are tackling is the restoration of the Penn State legacy, while making sure students are prepared and have the skills necessary to succeed when they enter the workforce.

“I walked on at Penn State, so I understand the difficulties and the struggles that students and families face when it comes to finding ways to pay for tuition,” McGloin shared. “And, in fact, my running mate is the only candidate ever that is running for re-election, who has consistently voted no on tuition increases. I know there’s other candidates that want to say that they want to be able to fight for this or that, but Alvin is the only one who has consistently voted no on tuition increases, and I absolutely join him in that fight. Raising tuition needs to be an absolute last resort.”

McGloin, along with de Levie, believes that Penn State should create a “tuition fund” to minimize tuition increases during any four-year period a student attends Penn State. The pair wants to be a voice for students at all Penn State campuses, ensuring each one has the support they need to find success in academics and extracurriculars.

From talking with current students about their experiences on campus to reflecting on his own, McGloin hears the struggles of the average college student and vouches for serious changes that help prepare them for life after graduation.

“We’re fully committed to doing our part to fulfill the land grant mission to make Penn State education accessible and affordable to all students,” McGloin said. “All of our Commonwealth Campuses are struggling — they’re the glue that holds this university together. We have to be resources for them. We must be able to strengthen these campuses.”

Along with ensuring students receive the best education and resources on campus, McGloin aims to continue to carry on the legacy of the Paterno family for all of the work and passion they’ve put into making Penn State what is today.

“Joe and Sue Paterno have made a profound impact on the Penn State community, myself included, as I had the chance to play for Joe for four years,” McGloin shared. “Sue is a tremendous person who has dedicated her life to doing incredible things throughout the Penn State community. One of the things Alvin and I pledge to honor is the legacy of Joe and Sue by naming the field at Beaver Stadium Paterno Field.”

As a former student-athlete, current Lackawanna County commissioner, and leader within many facets, McGloin is committed to making Penn State a world-class academic institution and honoring its legacy and tradition.

“This is a brand that you don’t wear for four years, you don’t wear for five years. You wear it for the rest of your life,” McGloin said. “And, I think that’s a special, special thing. I think that’s what makes Penn State so great.”

Voting for the Board of Trustees election began on Wednesday, April 10, and will close at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 2.

Editor’s note: McGloin’s interview is the final of a multi-part series that aims to feature alumni running for open seats on the Board of Trustees. Onward State does not, and will not, endorse any candidate(s) in this election.

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected]

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