“Cliff Benson and Todd Rucci are great examples of the type of people it takes to lead one of the commonwealth’s great learning institutions,” Corbett said. “Their experiences and knowledge of Penn State University is second to none.”
Cliff Benson is the chief development officer with the Buffalo Sabres. Benson’s main duties as chief development officer are overseeing the Buffalo Sabres Foundation and other initiatives throughout the Buffalo and Western New York communities. Benson is currently overseeing the $180 million Harbor Center Project in Buffalo.
Previously, Benson served the team as a senior advisor and was instrumental in the purchase of both the Sabres, in February 2011, and the team’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, in June 2011, by Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Benson was also instrumental in facilitating Pegula’s $88 million donation to help launch a Division-I men’s ice hockey program at Penn State University in 2011.
“Cliff’s record of responsibility and stability will prove beneficial to all of the Penn State community,” Corbett said. “I am extremely confident in Cliff’s ability to serve the Board of Trustees successfully.”
Benson, a CPA and attorney, served the Deloitte Tax LLP organization for 37 years, including 10 years as lead client service partner. He became partner in 1981 and worked in the New York and South Florida offices before transferring to Pittsburgh and eventually retiring in May 2010.
Benson is passionate about serving the community and has been actively involved in charitable organizations for most of his career – primarily those that benefit inner city children with limited opportunities. He is affiliated with Hasek’s Heroes, SABAH, Imani Christian Academy (Board Chair), Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, and Silver Ring Thing. Cliff was privileged to make three trips to Haiti bringing medical relief following the 2010 earthquake.
A graduate of Penn State University, Cliff earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a Masters of Law in Taxation from NYU. Benson resides in Sewickley, PA.
“Todd Rucci’s extensive experience in the public and private sector as well as his history with Penn State make him a natural choice to move this university forward,” Corbett said. “I look forward to the new ideas and innovations that Todd will bring to the Board of Trustees.”
Todd Rucci is currently a government and community relations officer with PAP Technologies. Prior to his role with PAP he served as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Before joining the PA Lottery he was the assistant vice president at Susquehanna Bank's Private Banking/Sports Division where he helped professional athletes with banking services, investment management, and estate planning and trusts.
A Penn State alumnus, Rucci was a right tackle on the university’s football team from 1989-1992. He also played eight seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots. Rucci and his family reside in Lititz, PA. Rucci’s wife, Stacy, is also an alumnus of Penn State and was an All-American in field hockey.
Benson and Rucci will replace Ira Lubert and Alvin Clemens, whose terms have expired on the board of trustees. Both Lubert and Clemens have expressed a desire to step down from the board of trustees and will continue to serve until Benson and Rucci are confirmed by the Senate.
“Ira and Al have both made tremendous contributions to the Penn State community,” Corbett said, “I want to thank them for their service to the university and the commonwealth,”
The Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University is the corporate body established by the charter with complete responsibility for the government and welfare of the University and all the interests pertaining to students, faculty, staff and alumni.
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