New Officers Begin Terms for KU Council of Trustees

Photos of three trustee officers

(L to R): Kevin Harden Jr. ’07, Esq., vice chair; Dennis A. Giorno ’94, chair; Phillips Armstrong ’71, secretary.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The Kutztown University Council of Trustees has new officers serving in leadership roles for the next two years, as approved at its June meeting. Dennis A. Giorno ’94 will serve as chair; Kevin Harden Jr. ’07, Esq., will serve as vice chair; and Phillips Armstrong ’71 will serve as secretary.

The 11-member KU Council of Trustees sets broad policy and direction for Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with the assistance of the university president.

Giorno joined the KU Council of Trustees in 2013. Giorno is a partner in the firm of Malady and Wooten, Inc., Harrisburg, focusing on governmental and public affairs. He is currently serving as chairperson of the council after completing a term as vice chair in 2024.

Prior to joining Malady & Wooten in 2004, Giorno was the executive director of the REACH Alliance, Pennsylvania's leading school choice advocacy organization. During his tenure, REACH secured passage of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which has been hailed as a national model for providing parents with choices in their children's education and funding innovative programs in public schools.

Giorno began his career in public policy on the staff of Governor Ridge's reinventing government IMPACCT Commission. He then went on to serve on the staff of State Representative Colleen A. Sheehan and in the public affairs office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Giorno currently is vice chairman of the Bridge Educational Foundation. He earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from KU in 1994.

Harden joined the KU Council of Trustees in 2020. He is currently the vice chairperson of the council, after completing a term as secretary in 2024.

Harden is a trial lawyer with the law firm Ross Feller Casey in Philadelphia. Since joining the firm, he has achieved more than $40 million in settlements and verdicts for individuals and their families following catastrophic injuries.

Harden’s law practice is centered upon helping families. He specializes in cases involving wrongful death, accidents causing loss of limb or paralysis, medical malpractice, with special attention to the ongoing maternal mortality and birth injury crisis, and civil rights matters.

In 2019, Harden served as co-counsel in the exoneration of Terrance Lewis, a Philadelphia man that served 21 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. After securing his release, Harden obtained a then-record-breaking $6.25 million civil rights settlement for Lewis’ wrongful conviction. Currently, Harden represents numerous plaintiffs in civil rights litigation, including the family of a man shot and killed by Philadelphia Police, several other exonerees who served more than a combined 100 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, and several families who have suffered wrongful death, delayed diagnoses of cancer and injuries during childbirth due to medical negligence.

Prior to joining Ross Feller Casey, Harden worked in the White-Collar and Commercial Litigation practice groups of the national law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott. While there, he represented corporations and their executives in sensitive government investigations and business litigation. Harden defended matters involving numerous federal and state investigative agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

As lead counsel, Harden has tried more than 25 criminal and civil trials to jury verdict and innumerous bench trials in both state and federal courts. He has also represented corporations in professional malpractice, breach of contract, consumer rights, real estate, civil rights, product liability, construction, whistleblower, medical malpractice, class action and mass tort litigation. Harden got his start trying cases as a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Harden is originally from West Philadelphia and attended Philadelphia public schools before graduating from the Kutztown University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and paralegal studies with a minor in political science and the Temple University Beasley School of Law. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and has practiced and taught Taekwondo for almost 30 years. He has served in leadership positions within numerous professional associations and non-profit organizations, including the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Public Interest Law Center, the Urban Affairs Coalition, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

Harden resides in Philadelphia with his adventurous and athletic seven-year-old daughter, Sasha.

Armstrong found his first passion for public service in education. He graduated from Kutztown in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education and a minor in social studies and obtained his master’s degree in education in 1975. He finally settled in Whitehall Township, where he taught social studies for more than 40 years. He is currently serving as secretary of the council.

Armstrong brought creativity and innovation to the classroom, ensuring that his students were always provided with real-world experiences, cutting-edge lessons and that they learned skills critical to their success as adults. His students continue to express their gratitude to him to this day. He also served as the girls’ basketball coach, where he fought to ensure that the school provided equal access to equipment and training facilities. He is a member of the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame and the Whitehall High School Hall of Fame.

Armstrong’s quality in the classroom earned him praise and respect from his peers. During his time in the Whitehall School District, he rose to be chair of the Social Studies Department.  He was also selected to serve as the Secondary Education Chairperson for the Middle States Council on Social Studies, where he worked to develop a standardized exam for Social Studies.

Armstrong’s retirement from education led him to his next venture in public service when he was appointed to the Whitehall Board of Commissioners. He moved quickly to bring civility and common sense to the board and was elected by his peers to be board president. His leadership produced a reduction in the local garbage tax and held the line on all other forms of taxation in Whitehall. The township has a capital plan to replace needed emergency services equipment, a fully funded police pension system.

Armstrong remains an active member of his community. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Whitehall Lion’s Club and is the current Lehigh County Executive. In his role, Armstrong is responsible for the faithful and efficient performance of all administrative functions of the county.

Robert Grim, Esq., concluded his two-year term as chair of the KU Council of Trustees in June 2024, and will continue to serve on the executive committee as the outgoing chair. Grim is a life-long resident of Kutztown, where he has practiced law since 1969. He began his career as an assistant public defender in Berks County and has served as a municipal solicitor in the area for more than 40 years. Grim is the co-founder and a former director, solicitor and treasurer of the Kutztown University Foundation.

To learn more about the KU Council of Trustees, visit their website. Current membership includes Phillips Armstrong ’71, Dennis Giorno ’94, Sandy Green, Dr. Dan Greenstein, Robert Grim, Esq., Kevin Harden Jr. ’07, Esq., Jim Ludlow, Dianne Lutz, Guido Pichini ’74 and Payton Mentzer ’24, student trustee.