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The truth of the Penn State scandal with Graham Spanier

The truth of the Penn State scandal with Graham Spanier

In the Lions' Den: The Penn State Scandal and a Rush to Judgment

The dust from the Jerry Sandusky scandal has settled, but has the true story been told? Today we hear from Dr. Graham Spanier about his book In the Lions' Den: The Penn State Scandal and a Rush to Judgment.

Links from the show:

About my guest:

GRAHAM SPANIER served as president of The Pennsylvania State University from September 1995 to November 2011. His prior positions include chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oregon State University, and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He previously served Penn State from 1973 to 1982 as a member of the faculty and in three administrative positions in the College of Health and Human Development.

A family sociologist, demographer, and marriage and family therapist, he earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates. Spanier is President Emeritus and University Professor Emeritus at Penn State. He held academic appointments as professor of human development and family studies, sociology, demography, and family and community medicine.

As president of Penn State, Dr. Spanier was often described as an unconventional university president. He is a magician who served as faculty advisor to the Penn State Performing Magicians, performed with Penn State’s Musical Theatre students, the marching band, the glee club, and the chamber orchestra. He has run with the bulls in Pamplona, has a commercial pilot’s license, and plays percussion with the Deacons of Dixieland. He and his racquetball partner were the eleven-time Penn State co-ed intramural racquetball champions.

He oversaw one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive universities, with nearly 100,000 students and 47,000 employees on 24 campuses and a physical plant of 1,700 buildings. During his tenure, applications soared to more than 120,000 per year and the academic standing of dozens of programs rose in national rankings.

As a national leader in higher education, Spanier chaired the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and led the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. He was a founding member of the Internet2 board, U.S. Chair and international Vice Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network, and co-chair, with the President of the Recording Industry Association of America, of the Committee on Higher Education and the Entertainment Industry. Dr. Spanier was the first university president to receive the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence awarded by the American Council on Education. He was given the American Institute of Architects Award for Contribution to the Profession by a Non-Architect.

In the world of collegiate athletics, he chaired the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, was a member of the NCAA Executive Committee, was chair of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Presidential Oversight Board, oversaw the reorganization of the Fiesta Bowl, was chairman of the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors, and chaired commissions for the NCAA.

A distinguished researcher and scholar, he has more than 100 scholarly publications, including ten books, and was the founding editor of the Journal of Family Issues. Spanier served as President of the National Council of Family Relations, chairman of the Board of Directors of Child Fund International (formerly Christian Children’s Fund), a member of the Board of Governors of Junior Achievement Worldwide, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National 4-H Council.

Spanier served as chair of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, a member of the National Counterintelligence Working Group, and as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College. He has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to national security, including being honored as one of the “Most Influential People in Security,” the “Wings of Law” Award from the Respect for Law Alliance, the Director’s Award for “Exceptional Public Service” presented by the FBI, and the Warren Medal for “Outstanding Contributions to the National Security of the United States of America.” He has been a frequent speaker at FBI and other governmental and educational conferences and seminars on topics related to national security.

Spanier spent decades working in television and radio, even while serving higher education. He hosted To the Best of My Knowledge, a live call-in program on public television and radio, and Expert Opinion, a sports topic program on the Big Ten Network.

Spanier currently serves as a consultant in national and international security, intelligence, and risk management.

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