The Clarion University Council of Trustees is composed of eleven members who, except for the student member, are nominated and appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania with the advice and consent of the Senate. The powers and duties of the Council include the establishment of academic programs and schools for consideration by the Board of Governors; review and approval of annual operating and capital budgets, fees, purchases, and contracts; participation in university and System-wide strategic planning; review and approval of policies and procedures governing the use of university facilities and property; annual inspection of university facilities; and the annual evaluation of the President.
2014-2015 Council of Trustees
James L. Kifer, Chairperson
James L. Kifer ('83) of Rimersburg, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2006 and reappointed in 2009. He currently serves as Council Chairperson, having served as its Vice Chairperson and Secretary. Mr. Kifer is President, Chief Executive Office, Chief Financial Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors of Clarion County Community Bank. He is a member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers and the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation. He served two years as President of the Rimersburg Lions Club and as a member of the Clarion Rotary Club. Mr. Kifer earned a B.S. in Finance from Clarion University and graduated from the Central Atlantic Advanced School of Banking at Bucknell University.
Joy Dunbar, Vice Chairperson
State College, PA
Joy "J.D." J.D. Dunbar of State College, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2009 and reappointed in 2013. She is chief administrator for the Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program (RULE) and Senior Associate at The Pennsylvania State University. She frequently lectures to various leadership, governmental, and agricultural groups around the world and is a feature writer for local government publications. Ms. Dunbar holds a B.A. in English and M.S. in Communication from Clarion University and has completed all coursework and comprehensive exams toward a Ph.D. in Speech Communication at Penn State. She has also completed a Kellogg Fellowship in leadership development at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and PennWriters.
Milissa S. Bauer, Secretary
Mrs. Milissa Bauer of Clarion, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in October 2012 and reappointed in 2013. Ms. Bauer is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for The Kriebel Companies, one of the largest independent natural gas producers in the state. She is responsible for managing relationships with Kriebel Wells’ partners and many operations of the other Kriebel companies. Active professionally, Ms. Bauer serves as secretary/treasurer of the PA Producers Service Company (PIPSCO) of the PA Independent Oil & Gas Association. She also serves as director and chairperson of The Children’s Scholarship Fund of PA, which provides financial assistance to needy families wishing to send their children to a school of their choice, and as treasurer of the Clarion County YMCA. Ms. Bauer earned a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in accounting with a minor in computer information systems from Clarion University. She swam for the Clarion University Women’s Swim Team coached by Dr. Rebecca Leas that won four NCAA Division II National Championship titles for the university from 1980 to 1984.
Dr. Syed R. Ali-Zaidi
Dr. Syed Ali Zaidi of Shippenville, PA was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 1980 and reappointed in 1985, 1991, 1997, 2003 and 2009. He was a founding member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors, serving from 1984 to 1988 and from 1997 to 2002. In 1998, Dr. Ali-Zaidi chaired the board's Task Force on Science and Advanced Technology Education, Workforce Development, and Implementation Research. In 2001, he established the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence, which annually recognizes an outstanding State System graduate. Dr. Ali-Zaidi is the recipient of the System's 2002 Eberly Award for Volunteerism. He is retired from a 25-year career in research and development with the glass industry. He has a B.S. in Glass Technology from Sheffield University in England, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Ceramic Engineering, both from The Ohio State University.
Susanne A. Burns
Susanne Burns of Shippenville, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 1997 and reappointed in 2001, 2009, and 2013. She is a real estate broker and a retired certified general appraiser with Burns and Burns Associates, Inc. of Clarion, PA. Mrs. Burns is a member of the CNB Community Bank Board of Directors. She formerly served as a member of the Clarion Hospital Foundation Committee and as President of the Clarion Chamber of Commerce and was named Clarion Citizen of the Year in 1984. She was elected to serve as secretary of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (PACT) for 2008-2009. She and her husband Eugene Burns are the recipients of the Clarion University Alumni Association's 2008 Distinguished Service Award. Mrs. Burns holds a B.S. in Education from Westminster College.
The Honorable R. Lee James
Oil City, PA
R. Lee James ('74, ‘83) of Oil City, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 1997 and reappointed in 2002, 2009, and 2013. Following a career of 40-plus years as a local businessman, working in both the banking and investment management sectors, Mr. James was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November, 2012, serving Venango and Butler Counties. He currently serves on the Fifth Congressional District Military Academies Advisory Board, the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. He was a former board member of Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Development Commission Loan Committee, Venango County Industrial Development Corporation, Venango County Vocational-Technical School, Boy Scouts of America, and twice Campaign Chairman of United Way of Venango County. Mr. James is a member of Lodge #363 F & A M, and was honorably discharged from the U. S. Navy in 1972. He holds a B.S. in economics and MBA from Clarion University.
The Honorable Donna Oberlander
The Honorable Donna Oberlander of Clarion, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2009 and reappointed in 2012. She is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving the 63rd District, which includes all of Clarion County and parts of Armstrong County. For the 2013-14 legislative session, she is serving as a House Republican Deputy Whip, Deputy Policy Committee Chairman, co-chair of the Pennsylvania House Diabetes Caucus and on the following standing committees: Appropriations, Children and Youth, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Local Government. Representative Oberlander earned a B.A. in Political Science from Clarion University.
Randy Seitz of Franklin, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in October 2012. Mr. Seitz is a 19-year veteran of community and economic development working to build prosperous communities by attracting business investment to create real family-wage sustaining jobs. He has served communities in New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. He currently is the President/CEO of Penn-Northwest Development Corporation in Mercer County and is the former President/COO of the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism in Venango County. Active in his community, Mr. Seitz serves as a Franklin Area School District Board Member, where he also is the chairman of the district’s Finance and Budget Committee and the Long-Range Planning Committee; Chief Volunteer Officer of the Corporate Board of Directors of the Franklin/Grove City YMCA; board member of the Governor’s Council on Rural Affairs; and a member of the Joint Operating Committee of the Venango Technology Center. He formerly served as the Chairman of the Industrial Technology Advisory Board. Mr. Seitz holds an MBA from Clarion University.
Howard H. Shreckengost, Acting Vice Chairperson
New Bethlehem, PA
Howard Shreckengost of New Bethlehem, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2001 and reappointed in 2009 and 2013. He has owned and operated Char-Val Candies in Porter Township for 45 years. Mr. Shreckengost spent eight years a member of the New Bethlehem Borough Council, three as president. He has also served on the Redbank Valley Municipal Authority and on the board of directors of New Bethlehem Bank.
Jeffrey J. Szumigale
Jeffrey J. Szumigale ('82) of Erie, PA, was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2001 and reappointed in 2003 and 2009. He is Senior Vice President and Managing Director for PNC Advisors in Northwest Pennsylvania. Mr. Szumigale is President of The Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Erie, board member of the United Way of Erie County, board member of the PNC Foundation in Northwest PA, President's Associate of Mercyhurst College, and treasurer of the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent Health System. He also serves as a member of the Estate Planning Council of Erie. In 1989 he received the Sales and Management Executive Award as outstanding sales winner. He was recognized again by the Sales and Marketing Executives in 1996 as the Distinguished Salesperson of the Year. Mr. Szumigale earned a B.S. in Marketing from Clarion University and an MBA from Gannon University.
Darren Young of Millerstown, Pa., was appointed Student Trustee in November 2012. A 2010 graduate of Greenwood High School, he is pursuing dual degrees in political science and business economics. Mr. Young serves as chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Clarion Students' Association and as an ex-officio member of Student Senate. His past student leadership experience includes service on the Inter-Hall Council and with the Emerging Leaders Program.