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News Release

A Message from Campaign Chair Peter Tombros to Penn State Supporters

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All of us who have dedicated ourselves to the goals and vision of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students share in the emotions that have swept across the University, the Commonwealth, and the nation this week in the wake of the profoundly disturbing charges made against former and current Penn State employees. We have supported this institution because we believe that our campuses should be safe, supportive environments where young people grow and thrive, and our first concern must be the well-being of the children and families who have placed their trust in our community.

I know that we will all be keeping these individuals in our thoughts, our prayers, and our hearts as the legal process unfolds over the months ahead. In a case of such complexity, answers will not come easily or quickly, but we must maintain faith in our legal system, designed to protect the innocent as well as prosecute the guilty. I urge you to refrain from speculation on the facts and the possible outcomes of the case. Too much is uncertain.

What is certain, however, is the importance of the role that Penn State’s alumni and friends can play at this difficult time. Even as you have expressed your anger and sadness, you have also communicated your belief that Penn State can and will transcend this crisis. The values that have guided this institution for more than 150 years—integrity, opportunity, excellence—will guide us through the challenges that lie ahead. We can look to the name of the campaign itself for our direction forward: The future of our university and of our students is where we must focus our attention and aspirations, and our support will help Penn State represent all that is best in higher education.

This is not a moment to reconsider our commitment to the University. I urge you to continue to support the campaign and the students whose lives will be transformed by your philanthropy. As you read the headlines, I hope that you will also keep these points in mind:

1. For everyone associated with this campaign, our deepest concern is the physical, emotional, and psychological health of the children and young adults who may have been impacted by the crimes alleged in the case.
2. We are at the beginning of what is likely to be a long and complex legal process; as a result, we must strive to reserve judgment until that process has run its course.
3. The campaign’s top priority—keeping a world-class education within reach for students from every economic background—remains as important today as it was before the news of this past weekend. We will continue to pursue the goals and vision of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.

I also want to assure you that no private funds or philanthropic resources will be directed toward legal expenses for the University employees who have been charged in the case; these costs will be covered through a directors’ and officers’ insurance policy that is standard at all major institutions and organizations.

I have the utmost confidence in our Board of Trustees, and I encourage you to give them your strong support in the days ahead. I also encourage you to share your questions and concerns with our development staff and volunteers. Even as the events of this week have unfolded, many of you have reiterated your commitment to the campaign and its goals. That is testimony to the extraordinary and enduring loyalty of Penn Staters, and I offer you my personal and heartfelt thanks.

There has never been a more important moment for those of us who believe in Penn State to represent its values to the larger world. Penn State needs you now, more than ever. Through your philanthropy, you have helped this institution earn the respect of the world, and through continued support, you will help Penn State pride endure.