Brandywine Advisory Board grants emeritus status to 3 longtime board members

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Douglas Smith, Michael Bradley and Jerry Parsons, longtime members of the Penn State Brandywine Advisory Board
Image via Bill Tyson
Douglas Smith, Michael Bradley and Jerry Parsons, longtime members of the Penn State Brandywine Advisory Board

The Penn State Brandywine Advisory Board has granted emeritus status to three long-serving board members who have contributed significantly to the campus’ growth and success in recent years.

The three outgoing members were honored at the Advisory Board’s quarterly meeting on Nov. 15.

Emeritus status was granted to Michael Bradley, president, and CEO of M.J. Bradley Company, who joined the board in 1990; Jerry Parsons, chairman and former CEO of CTDI, who joined the board in 2010; and Douglas Smith, vice president for state government affairs at Verizon, who also joined the board in 2010.

Bradley and Parsons are former board presidents; all three have served as committee chairs.

An emeritus status member is an honorary title that recognizes an Advisory Board member who has provided long-term and outstanding service to Penn State Brandywine and its associated community.

Current Advisory Board President Jonathan Savage, vice president of Pennoni, commended them for their service and their commitment to the campus and its students.

 “These three board members have been longstanding contributors and instrumental to the growth of the campus and the student population here at Penn State Brandywine,” Savage said.

They have worked on the development of the campus residence hall and looked for future opportunities to expand and grow the campus.

Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells thanked the board members for all they have done to support the campus — from fundraising to student career guidance to food pantry donations — and for their role as advisers, advocates and ambassadors for the campus in the local community.

“We’re so fortunate to have an engaged and dedicated Advisory Board at Brandywine,” Wells said. “Doug, Jerry and Mike have shined in their leadership roles on the board.”

 They were strong advocates for Brandywine becoming a residential campus, and they’ve encouraged the campus’ expansion of academic programs, especially around STEM and STEM careers, Wells said.

Each of the board members said they were motivated to serve on the advisory board as a way to give back to Penn State in return for the impact a Penn State education has had on them and/or their family members.

Parsons credits his Penn State education for the skills needed to establish CTDI with his father and grow it into a global engineering, repair and logistics company serving the communications industry.

Parsons began his Penn State education at Brandywine and completed his degree at Harrisburg.

“I really believe my electrical engineering degree that I received from Penn State was a huge part of who I am today. I would not be able to do the business things I’m doing today if I didn’t have my engineering degree, so I’m very thankful to Penn State.”

Serving on the board was a “great honor,” said Bradley, who attended Brandywine and University Park and is one of at least two dozen family members to have graduated from or currently attend Penn State.

“Family is a big part of this campus,” he said.

Smith, while not a Penn State graduate, has six family members who are, including his children. That was his motivation for becoming involved.

All three said supporting Brandywine’s transition to a residential campus with the opening of Orchard Hall in 2017 was a key priority and perhaps the highlight of their time on the board.

Smith , who had one point had an HR background, said another highlight of his board service was supporting the campus’ career development services for students by meeting with seniors, doing mock interviews for jobs and coaching students with resume development.

Parsons added that, in addition to his personal relationship with Penn State Brandywine, he’s proud of the connection between the campus and CTDI.

“Having the opportunity to bring CTDI to the campus — not only the Parsons family but our company — is important,” he said. “For the campus, having that relationship with a technical company like CTDI just opens up so many other opportunities, especially as we’re expanding into engineering programs, supply chain management programs, things like that where the corporate engagement supports Penn State Brandywine’s efforts.”

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