Short: Education is Key to the American Dream

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: News, Sports, White Oak News

(Photo: Penn State Greater Allegheny, via Twitter)


Brandon Short sees the world much more clearly now that he lives in London.

Having a broader world view has strengthened the 40-year-old McKeesport native’s belief in the concept of the American Dream.

That’s why it was important for Short to espouse the importance of higher education in front of a crowd of 110 people during a talk at the Crossing Bridges Summit Wednesday night at Penn State Greater Allegheny’s Wunderley Gymnasium.

Despite some of the country’s flaws, Short believes everyone has a chance for upward mobility. Short, who had a seven-year career in the NFL with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers from 2000-06, is running for a spot on Penn State University’s Board of Trustees.


“You see a problem and run at it,” said Short, after the panel discussion. “Higher education is the key to upward mobility. Providing an affordable education to middle class people is the key to the American Dream. If we don’t make the opportunity available we are losing it. I want to fight to keep the American Dream.”

Short, a 1995 McKeesport Area High School alumnus, said he would like to be a voice for all students, but especially minority ones, since the university's board of trustees doesn’t currently have any African Americans on it. The voting ended at 9 a.m. Thursday, and Short, a former captain on the Nittany Lions’ football team, will know soon if he was elected.


(Photo: Penn State Greater Allegheny, via Twitter)


Short covered a wide variety of topics during a discussion with Wanda Hope, who is a Diversity & Inclusion Officer for Johnson & Johnson, based around issues of diversity and inclusion.

Succeeding in the college classroom was one of Short’s main wishes for minority students. He would like to see schools like Penn State find a way to make the transition easier. Penn State ranks sixth in the Big Ten for the percentage of African American students enrolled, at 5.8 percent.

Short would like to see people be able to climb like he did.

After receiving his MBA from the Columbia Business School in 2010, Short went to work for Goldman Sachs. He then co-founded World Business Partners in the United Arab Emirates.

Short witnessed a class system in place in the UAE, where he said a waiter might be stuck working the same job for their entire lives. But the United States is different, he said, and there is hope for upward mobility: There just needs to be some tweaking when it comes to accepting other people.

“Sometimes people see someone with a nose ring or with different color hair and they are uncomfortable because it is unfamiliar to them,” Short said. “But that person could invent cold fusion.”


Being more involved again at Penn State is something Short has thought about for a long time.

He would like to see other students have the same opportunities he did.

“I found out about it when I was in college seeing the board of trustees meet at the Nittany Lion Inn in 1998,” Short said. “I wanted to pursue it because playing at Penn State and paying under Joe (Paterno) I’ve always had a willingness or desire to give back. I identified myself as a leader and I wanted to help lead the university. I’m running now because I’m ready.”

Photo courtesy White Oak E.M.S., via Facebook.


Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer who covers sports and other topics for Tube City Almanac.

Originally published May 03, 2018.

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