Senate Confirms Four Appointments to IUP Council of Trustees

Posted on 10/18/2018 10:28:29 AM

From the Office of State Senator Don White:

Laurie Kuzneski 480p

The Senate confirmed four appointments to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees on Wednesday (October 17), according to Senator Don White, who strongly supported the nominees.

Tim Cejka

Current Trustees Susan Delaney and Mark Holman were reappointed to the Council and Tim Cejka and Laurie Kuzneski were appointed to their first terms on the Council.

Susan Delaney

“I was very pleased to support these nominations. Susan and Mark have served IUP well during their time on the Council of Trustees, and I am sure Tim and Laurie will be excellent additions to the panel,” said Senator White. “This is a critical time for IUP and the State System of Higher Education. The system is at a crossroads, and these are challenging times at all of its schools, including IUP. I believe the school is well served by its Council of Trustees, and these dedicated people will chart a solid course that will ensure continued success for the university and its students.”

Mark Holman

“One of IUP’s strengths has been that the Council of Trustees includes people with various backgrounds and skills,” said Samuel Smith, Council of Trustees chairman. “The Council of Trustees members are very excited to have Laurie and Tim join us, as they bring two fresh and unique perspectives to help us meet the challenges we have before us. The distinguished resumes that they possess will complement and energize the IUP trustees as we work to strengthen IUP’s position in the competitive world of higher education.”

IUP President Michael Driscoll applauded the confirmations and welcomed the new members to the Council.

“IUP has been very fortunate to have a great group of very engaged trustees who care deeply about the university and the success of our students. I am very pleased to see these two individuals come forward, as I know they share this same commitment to IUP,” he said. “They each contribute valuable and important perspectives and experiences to the position of trustee, ranging from distinguished leadership in our Imagine Unlimited campaign, ownership of a profitable business, nationally respected expertise in their fields, and strong local community ties, while maintaining ongoing meaningful involvement with the university.”

Cejka, who retired from ExxonMobil in 2010 after more than 34 years of service, replaces Gealy Wallwork on the Council.

“I am very thankful to be appointed to the Council of Trustees of Indiana University of Pennsylvania,” Cejka said. “I look forward to serving on the Council and to help in continuing their great work.” 

Kuzneski, director of Marketing & Wellness with Kuzneski Insurance Group and president of Miss Laurie’s Gourmet Kitchen, replaces Jonathan Mack on the Council.

“IUP brings so much to this community, both as an economic driver and a cultural resource,” Kuzneski said. “I am extremely proud to be an alumna of the university, and am very honored to be invited to serve in this important role.”

Delaney has served as an IUP trustee since 1987. Holman, who serves as vice chairman of the Council, has served on the panel since 1995.

About Laurie Kuzneski

Laurie Kuzneski, a 1993 journalism and public relations graduate of IUP, currently serves as director of Marketing & Wellness at Kuzneski Insurance Group and as president of Miss Laurie’s Gourmet Kitchen. In her role with KIG, her marketing responsibilities include managing sponsorships; development of website and marketing assets; content creation for social media, blogs, and client communications; client and carrier relations; business development; and community outreach. She also develops strategic plans and partnerships, builds employee engagement, and works to drive the overall growth of the firm. Her work in wellness includes maintaining employee wellness programs for KIG, creating wellness challenges and educational activities, developing partnerships with wellness providers, educating clients on wellness plan options, and providing “Lunch and Learn” cooking demonstrations for clients and their employees.

Started as a gourmet peanut brittle business that quickly gained an international clientele, Miss Laurie’s Gourmet Kitchen shifted focus in 2010 to teaching cooking classes for adults and children. She has built the business into a platform to raise awareness for feeding the hungry and engaging children in giving back. She has worked with many agencies and schools to spearhead food drives and on service projects that address issues related to hunger and food insecurity.

Committed to her community and to philanthropy, in 2017 she chaired the United Way of Indiana County fundraising campaign, exceeding her fundraising goal of $717,000. She successfully raised more than $680,000 as the 2016 United Way campaign co-chair and continues to serve in several roles on the United Way Board of Directors, including on the Community Impact Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Personnel Committee, and Allocations Committee.

As vice chair of the International Myeloma Foundation Gala Committee, Kuzneski raised $750,000 during the 2017 Annual Comedy Gala benefiting the Peter Boyle Research Fund.

She is the co-founder of Al Angels, an angel group that brings together the world’s leading committed industry experts with some of the nation’s best early-stage, high-growth Al companies to transform the way society uses Al as a tool toward successful outcomes.

She is the co-founder of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup, a pitch competition held annually in conjunction with the Innovation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. To date, a total of $40,000 has been awarded to six student-faculty entrepreneurial teams to advance commercialization.

She also serves on the Rising Tide Fund, a pilot program that seeks to narrow the gender gap in angel investing by providing 100 women a unique learning opportunity that allowed them to build a diversified portfolio of investments, receive mentoring by women who are experienced angel investors, and an education and training program around angel investing. To date, the fund as deployed more than $1 million and invested in 10 women-led companies.

She serves on the board of directors of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce.

During her tenure on the board of directors of the YMCA of Indiana County, she raised more than $30,000 during the annual fund kick-off event from 2014 to 2018. She also formerly served on the IUP Museum Board of Directors, where she raised more than $33,000 as chair of the Gala fundraising event. She has also served on the board of directors of the Indiana County Small Business Incubator.

Prior to her current work at KIG and with Miss Laurie’s Gourmet Kitchen, she held leadership roles in marketing at First Commonwealth Insurance Agency and First Commonwealth Financial Corporation.

She and her husband, Andrew Kuzneski III, are the parents of three children.

About Tim Cejka

Tim Cejka, a 1973 graduate of IUP, retired as president of Exxon Mobil Exploration and vice president of Exxon Mobil in 2010, positions he held for six years.

He joined Exxon Company, USA in 1975 as a geophysicist in Houston, before moving in 1981 to New Orleans, where he became district geophysicist and later senior exploration supervisor. Cejka held a number of technical and management positions in Exxon Company, USA and Exxon Corporation before being named vice president of Exxon Ventures, Inc. in 1993. Cejka, who earned his master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, became vice president for Geoscience for the Caspian and Middle East regions for ExxonMobil Exploration Company in 1999.

Awarded the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006, he also received an honorary doctoral degree from IUP. He and his wife, Deb Phillips Cejka, a 1973 graduate, serve as co-chairs of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics component of the IUP Imagine Unlimited $75-million comprehensive campaign, and he is a member of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Advancement Council. The couple live in Latrobe and Houston.

About Susan Delaney

Susan Delaney was appointed by the governor as a member of the IUP Council of Trustees on October 7, 1987. Delaney served as chairperson of the IUP Council of Trustees from 2012 until 2016.  She also served as chairperson from May 2001 to May 2006. She was vice chair of the Council of Trustees and chair of the council’s Academic Affairs Committee from May 2006 until May 2012. She served on the PACT (Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees) Executive Committee until May 2016 and was president of PACT from 1999 to 2001. . Delaney graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana State College with a BS in Home Economics Education.

Delaney has served on the IUP Research Institute Board of Directors as secretary since its inception. She also served on the IUP Middle States Accreditation Steering Committee and on four presidential search committees and has been liaison to the Foundation for IUP Board of Directors.  She is president of the Indiana area Meals on Wheels program. Delaney is currently a member of the Indiana County Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice board, and she has served as the community liaison to the IUP/Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Respiratory Care advisory committee since 1978. She served on the boards of Indiana Healthcare Corporation and Indiana Hospital Properties. She also served the Clairvaux Commons senior living facility as secretary of its board for over 20 years.

Delaney is co-owner and vice president of Delaney Auto Group. She resides in Indiana with her husband, Jack. They are the proud parents of three adult children and have seven grandchildren. 

About Mark Holman

For more than 35 years, Mark Holman has served as a senior manager and advisor within the state and federal governments. His comprehensive experience, which includes positions within both the federal legislative and executive branches, state executive branch, and senior positions in eight political campaigns, provides him with a comprehensive understanding of government and a unique perspective that few of his peers enjoy. Holman uses these experiences to provide strategic insight and consultation to his clients at the Ridge Policy Group.

Immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Holman served President George W. Bush and Governor Ridge as deputy assistant to the President in the White House Office of Homeland Security. Working in the White House during a time of war greatly enhanced his understanding of the importance of executive action. During his tenure in the White House, Holman assisted with policymaking that ultimately led to the historic creation of the nation’s first Department of Homeland Security.

Within the state government, Holman served as Governor Ridge’s chief of staff from 1995 to 2000. As a chief architect to the one of Pennsylvania’s most successful administrations in recent history, he led efforts to significantly enhance the state’s transportation infrastructure. He also assisted with negotiations that ultimately revitalized the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia and brought four new major sports stadiums to Pennsylvania.

He has also worked in both branches of Congress. Beginning his public career with the late Senator John Heinz, Holman gained first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing legislators and the competing priorities between the House and the Senate. These lessons served him well during his nine-year tenure as chief of staff to then-Congressman Tom Ridge.  

Understanding the intersection of policy and politics is essential to a successful public advocacy strategy. Over the course of his career, he has developed extensive campaign experience. He managed Governor Ridge’s first campaign for Congress in 1982 and later managed his first gubernatorial campaign. He served on President George H.W. Bush’s campaign committee in 1980 and 1988, as well as President Reagan’s 1980 campaign. In total, he has worked on eight full-time campaign efforts at all levels. At the national level, Holman has served on the Republican Governors Association Finance Committee for over a decade, providing insight and access to state executive branches across the country.

Prior to helping found the Ridge Policy Group, he served as Practice Group leader for eight years at a national law firm, where he became a full equity principal. He matched his experience in government and politics with a broad-based federal and state client base. His approach to client matters has always been on a bipartisan basis.

Holman is active in the community, serving on the board of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle, and on the advisory board for the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation. He is also a member of the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum National Advisory Council.