Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Franco Harris reinstated as chairman of Pittsburgh Promise
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The board of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program today gave board member Franco Harris a vote of confidence and passed a motion for him to return as board chairman.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had criticized Mr. Harris last month for his support for his college football coach, Joe Paterno, after Mr. Paterno was fired by Penn State University in the wake of a sex scandal there centered around a former assistant coach. The mayor said Mr. Harris' support for his coach showed "no regard whatsoever" for the alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Mr. Harris stepped down as chairman of the Pittsburgh Promise board during a Nov. 17 meeting but remained a board member. David Malone, president and CEO of Gateway Financial Services was named acting chairman.

Today, at the continuation of that meeting, members voted for Mr. Harris to return to chairmanship of the board.

In a news release, Mr. Malone said Mr. Harris' personal opinion on the Penn State situation shouldn't negate the work he has done for Pittsburgh Promise.

"The board acknowledges that Franco's service to The Pittsburgh Promise has been exemplary and we appreciate and applaud his significant contributions to the success of this nationally recognized program," Mr. Malone said in the release.

Mr. Ravenstahl couldn't be reached for comment on Mr. Harris continuing as chairman.

Under the program, Pittsburgh high school students who maintain a minimum grade-point average can obtain college scholarship money donated by area businesses, foundations and organizations.

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