Richard G. “Dick” Jewell, the 70 year old former president of Grove City College, has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
A surprising move perhaps for the House Speaker of the commonwealth, Mike Turzai as Jewell has freely admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that gambling has “never been part of my lifestyle.”
The board was formed to regulate casinos in Pennsylvania as part of the act that legalized some forms of gambling in 2004. 13 gambling licenses have been awarded so far, with more important decisions slated in coming years as the state government considers opening up online gambling, keno and video poker in bars and restaurants.
Jewell’s unfamiliarity with the gambling industry is not surprising considering his background. Having graduated from Grove City College himself before serving a stint in the US Army and attending law school at the University of Michigan, Jewell was appointed the youngest ever trustee of his alma mater in 1974. After a successful career in law and business, serving on the board of several prominent charities along the way, Jewell was appointed president of Grove City College in 2003. He presided over the Christian liberal arts school, located fifty miles north of Pittsburgh, for 11 years.
Dianne Berlin, coordinator of CasinoFreePA, said she hopes Jewell’s background brings a fresh sense of responsibility to the board.
Jewell’s status as an industry outsider is raising hopes among Pennsylvania’s anti-gambling advocates. “There has always been a very cozy relationship between members of the so-called Gaming Control Board and the casinos,” Dianne Berlin of CasinoFreePA said. “It will be very interesting to see what Mr. Jewell feels his role will be. Grove City [College], from what I understand, was built on a good moral foundation.”
However solid its moral foundation is, Grove City College certainly flourished under Jewell’s guidance. Frequently featured as a top college by prestigious publications such as Forbes, the school was also named as was ranked as one of the cream of the crop in America’s conservative colleges by the publication Human Events.
Grove City’s campus media also thrived under President Jewell. It is well known for its various student produced publications such as The Echo, The Collegian, and The Quad.
Jewell’s successor as president of Grove City College, Paul McNulty, predicted Jewell will bring “a proven and steadfast commitment to excellence to this new role.”