The state Senate has confirmed the nominations of four new members to the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The Senate also confirmed two current members to new four-year terms.
The new members to the board that oversees the State System and its 14 member universities are Marian D. Moskowitz of Malvern, Samuel H. Smith of Punxsutawney, Neil R. Weaver of York and Kutztown University student Molly Gallagher of Toughkenamon. Donald E. Houser Jr. of Coraopolis and David M. Maser of Philadelphia will each serve an additional term.
"I look forward to welcoming the new board members and to working with each of them as well as with the continuing members, on behalf of our students, our universities and the State System," said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. "The board, no doubt, will benefit from the unique perspective and the varied experiences each will bring to our discussions and deliberations."
The 20-member Board of Governors is responsible for overseeing Pennsylvania's 14 public universities. The board establishes broad educational, fiscal and personnel policies, and oversees the efficient management of the State System. Among other tasks, it appoints the chancellor and university presidents, approves new academic programs, sets tuition and coordinates and approves the State System's annual operating budget.
The board comprises 11 members appointed by the governor, three students, four legislators, the governor or a designee, and the state secretary of education or a designee.
"The Board of Governors serves an essential role in the success of the State System, our universities, and, most important, our students," said interim Chancellor Karen M. Whitney. "Board members perform a valuable public service and should be commended for the personal commitment of their time and energy."
Moskowitz is a real estate developer and has been involved in a variety of economic development projects in Chester County. She led the development of Franklin Commons in Phoenixville, a former abandoned industrial building that now houses multiple educational facilities, businesses and various community institutions, most of which are owned and run by women and that, combined, employ more than 250 people. She serves as vice chair of the Chester County Economic Development Council and is president of the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville. She was named to the Delaware River Port Authority by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2015 and is secretary of the Council of Trustees at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Smith served as a state representative for nearly 30 years, representing portions of Jefferson and Indiana counties. He served four years as speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015. He is chairman of the Council of Trustees at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and serves on the Punxsutawney College Trust, which supports IUP's branch campus. He has a bachelor's degree in advertising from Pennsylvania State University.
Weaver is executive deputy secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, where he oversees the management, programs and operations for the state agency. DCED is responsible for awarding more than $1.5 billion in loans and grants and for providing technical assistance to businesses, communities and local governments. He has served in many capacities in communications and government relations, including as northeast manager for government affairs for Resource Environmental Solutions; director of communications and press secretary for DCED; deputy press secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection; national fundraising manager for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; and chief of staff to gubernatorial primary candidate Kathleen McGinty. He has a bachelor's degree in communication from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the university's Council of Trustees.
Gallagher is a senior communications studies major, with minors in leadership, public administration, women and gender studies and public relations, at Kutztown University, where she is serving her second term as president of the Student Government Association. As SGA president, she oversees the organization's $2.2 million operating budget as well as the 33-member, elected Student Government Board. She sits on the President's Administrative Council Board, is interning with Kutztown University's University Relations office, and was selected to attend the Campus Women Lead summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Campus Leadership Council and Running Start.
Houser is state policy advisor for Dominion Energy. A Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania alumnus and former member of the university's Council of Trustees, he also sits on the Board of Directors of the Independent Power Producers of New York and is a former township commissioner in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County. Prior to joining Dominion, he spent 13 years working in the state Senate, where he was field representative to former state Senator J. Doyle Corman and chief of staff for 10 years to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman.
Maser is Of Counsel with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, a nationally known securities and consumer class action law firm. He has worked in both law and government for more than 25 years and has been involved with multiple presidential campaigns and numerous other federal, state and local campaigns. Maser also is active in his community, serving as chairman of Philadelphia 3.0; as a founding member and chairman of the Board of the Garces Foundation; and as a member of the Pennsylvania Society and the Union League of Philadelphia. He currently is in his fourth term as vice chair of the board.
The new board members will replace outgoing members Jonathan B. Mack of Indiana and Guido M. Pichini of Wyomissing. Aaron A. Walton of Allison Park resigned from the board earlier this year to become interim president of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. One of the three student seats on the board had been vacant prior to Gallagher's appointment and confirmation.