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Three alumni accept invitations to join Smeal Board of Visitors

April 18, 2018

James Brandau, Jean Oelwang, and Scott Tarriff have each accepted an invitation from Charles H. Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of the Penn State Smeal College of Business, to join the college’s Board of Visitors. They will advise Whiteman and other senior administrators in areas of strategic importance to the college.

“The Smeal College is fortunate to welcome Jim, Jean, and Scott to the Board of Visitors,” said Whiteman. “The depth and breadth of their professional experience will strengthen our board and I look forward to their insights and counsel.”

Brandau graduated from Penn State in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is past president of the Smeal Alumni Society Board and has mentored students through his involvement in the Smeal Mentoring Program, Wall Street Boot Camp, Alumni Mentoring Network, and LionLink. He currently serves as a director on the following boards: the Philadelphia Orchestra (Investment Committee), the Nittany Lion Fund, the Pennsylvania State University Military Scholarship Committee, and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill Alumni Council. He received the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2016.

“We have to challenge ourselves to think outside of the box to get ahead of business trends and be a progressive school where our graduating students are equipped to make an impact in a continuously evolving society,” says Brandau, a senior vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Oelwang graduated from Penn State in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. A transformational study abroad experience as an undergraduate led Oelwang to a number of international positions, culminating in her current roles as president and a trustee of Virgin Unite, a senior partner at the B Team, and co-founder of Plus Wonder, a multi-year project to explore the power of partnerships. Oelwang worked with a variety of stakeholders to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship. She has also helped incubate a number of global leadership initiatives including the Elders, the Carbon War Room, and Ocean Unite.

Tarriff earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Penn State in 1982 and later earned an MBA from Rider College. He has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry. In 2007, he founded Eagle Pharmaceuticals and currently serves as president and CEO. Prior to that, he held senior leadership positions at several publicly traded companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Par Pharmaceuticals. He currently sits on the board of directors of Synthetic Biologics, Inc., Ziopharm Oncology, Inc., Hackensack Meridian Health, and Hackensack University Medical Center. In 2016, Tarriff was awarded the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award in the Specialty Pharmaceutical category, New Jersey. He will be the keynote speaker for the Smeal’s Spring 2018 commencement ceremony. 

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in U.S. businesses in my professional career,” Tarriff said. “Business is much more global and far more competitive than it has ever been, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experience to the benefit of the University and its students.”

The Board of Visitors meets twice a year. Both Tarriff and Brandau will attend their first Board meeting Thursday, while Oelwang will participate in her first meeting later this year. The complete list of Board of Visitors membership can be found online.

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