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  • Oskin Leadership Institute

Advisory Board


David & JoEllen OskinJoEllen & David Oskin

JoEllen and David Oskin established the Institute with a record gift of $5 million to Widener University. Mr. Oskin has served on the Widener Board of Trustees since 1997, including nine years as chairman of the board. Watch a video of David Oskin discussing his family's motivation behind founding the Oskin Leadership Institute.

In his career, he served as executive vice president for International Paper and CEO of Carter Holt Harvey, a New Zealand-based forest products company. He is now president of his own investment and advisory firm, Four Winds Ventures. Mr. Oskin graduated from Pennsylvania Military College in 1964.


Paul BeidemanPaul Beideman

Paul Beideman is the current treasurer of Widener’s Board of Trustees. Beideman along with his wife, Caroline, established the Beideman Visiting Scholars program with the Institute in 2011. Through their gift, distinguished scholars from outside institutions spend time at Widener sharing their expertise and guiding faculty and student discussion and research.

Beideman received a master's degree in finance from Widener in 1979 and an honorary doctor of public service in 2014. He is the retired chairman and CEO of Associated Bank-Corp and currently serves as president and chief executive officer of Avenue of the Arts, Inc., an independent non-profit organization created to coordinate and oversee the growth and development of the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Richard Tan Richard Tan

Richard Tan committed a $1 million gift to the Institute to expand partnerships between Widener and universities in the People's Republic of China, especially Chongqing Technology and Business University, with an emphasis on students and faculty learning each other's languages, culture, and ways of doing business.

Tan is a member of Widener’s Board of Trustees, Founder and CEO of Pacific Millennium Group, and vice chairman of the Shanghai Chamber of International Commerce.



John TilelliGen. (ret.) John Tilelli Jr.

John Tilelli Jr., a retired U.S. Army four-star general and Pennsylvania Military College ('63) alumnus is the current vice-chair of Widener’s Board. Tilelli established the General and Mrs. John H. Tilelli Leadership Fellowship with a $225,000 pledge to the university in 2007. The fellowship is awarded annually to select graduate students to conduct scholarly research through the Institute.

Following his Army retirement, he served as president and chief executive officer of the United Service Organization (USO) Worldwide Operations and is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Cypress International, Inc.


Nicholas TrainerNicholas Trainer

Nicholas Trainer is a 1964 Pennsylvania Military College graduate and is the former chair of Widener’s Board of Trustees. He has served on the board for more than 30 years. Trainer and his family established the Trainer Leadership Faculty Fellows program through the Trainer Leadership Endowment Fund in 2009 to enable faculty to conduct research on topics and themes that intersect with the mission and purposes of the Institute.

For his service to the university, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1985 and the Alumni Service Award in 1996. Mr. Trainer is the retired president of Sartomer Company, Inc.


Vito VerniVito Verni

Vito Verni, a '61 graduate, saw the need to tie leadership development to another of the university's mission-driven goals— experiential learning. He and his wife Mary, established a student leadership fund to provide opportunities for Widener students to increase their understanding of leadership through a variety of experiences. Verni is a member of Widener’s Board of Trustees as well as Chairman of Verco Properties, LLC.

Verni is a member of Widener’s Board of Trustees as well as Chairman of Verco Properties, LLC.