President & CEO
Charles grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs in a family of railroaders, teachers, and small business owners. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania’s public schools, Bucknell University, the Koch Associate Program, and the Claremont Institute’s Publius Fellowship.
Charles first became associated with the Commonwealth Foundation when he was a college newspaper editor under attack for defending free speech. He became a Commonwealth Foundation investor in 2006, joined the staff as Chief Operations Officer in 2010, and became CEO in 2016. During that time, he has been honored with the State Policy Network’s Overton Award and the Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Intern Alumni Award and recognized as one of City & State Pennsylvania Forty Under 40 Rising Stars.
In addition to his Commonwealth Foundation responsibilities, Charles serves as an elder of his family’s church, a founder of Threefold Schoolhouse: An Acton Academy, president of the Open Discourse Coalition, and a board member of Americans for Fair Treatment and the Franklin News Foundation.
Charles lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife and their four daughters.
Bad Economists and Good Budget Cuts
Yesterday in the Patriot-News, yet another Penn State administrator campaigned against Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed cuts to the generous subsidies our public universities receive from taxpayers (many of which…
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Has Penn State “bin Laden” with Speech-Squelching Policies?
Our friends at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) say yes: The announcement late last evening that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan…
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PSU: Progress Seems Underway
On March 8, Gov. Tom Corbett started a statewide conversation about higher education through his budget address, in which he proposed significant cuts in the subsidies Pennsylvania public universities receive…
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When Bell Bottoms Were Cool…And PSU Charged $675
I just sent the following to a student at Penn State who is writing a paper on Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed cuts to the subsidies our public universities receive from…
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Provost Spins Unsuccessfully
I used to be one of those people who have Google Alerts set for their names. I’m not anymore, so it’s come to my attention only belatedly that on April…
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On Higher Ed, Will Legislators Choose the ObamaCare Approach?
This week in the Wall Street Journal, columnist William McGurn had an excellent piece on higher education (subscription required). He wrote mostly about federal policy—and on that point…
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The Really Devastating Thing Would Be a Tax Increase
My wife and I returned to Pennsylvania last year, and boy, are we feeling welcome right now. The warm fuzzies really took over earlier today when my wife called to…
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Can’t Cut, Can We?
While Pennsylvania’s public universities continue to cry poverty, pesky facts keep proving otherwise. Here’s a snippet from a piece by Debra Erdley in yesterday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Professors at…
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Washington Is Watching Harrisburg
Two writers for Politico recently opined that when it comes to getting spending under control, “the most sweeping work is getting done in states”—and they said the folks in…
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Not So Fast, University Presidents
CF’s own Nate Benefield is quoted at length in a Capitolwire piece today by Pete DeCoursey that calls us “a leading advocate of the unpopular higher education cuts proposed by…
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Students’ Ire Is Misplaced
As I write this, there are Pennsylvania college students walking past our State Capitol holding signs reading, “Save Our System.” It’s understandable: Since Gov. Corbett outlined his budget, these students…
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The Bubble Bursts at Penn State
The story is told that when someone asked John D. Rockefeller how much money is enough, he responded, "Just one dollar more." Penn State's President, Graham Spanier, like most college…
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Parents Mustn’t Fall for Penn State Claims
In an op-ed in Sunday’s Harrisburg Patriot-News, Penn State President Graham Spanier repeated his now-familiar claims that his institution must receive more from taxpayers than the $165 million…
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On Penn State and Lasagna
The news that Penn State’s trustees just froze new building projects brings lasagna to mind. The reason is that right after my wife and I returned from the hospital…
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Hope for University Administrators, or Taxpayers?
Tracie Mauriello of the Post-Gazette has a story today with the headline “Legislators offer hope to university administrators.” There, she quotes several state senators who say they hope to…
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Top Ten Reasons Pennsylvanians Deserve More from Their Universities
Yesterday in Harrisburg, the talk was all about Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to cut the generous subsidies Pennsylvania taxpayers provide to our universities. Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said…
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PSU: Political Stunt University?
University presidents are howling in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget address, in which he proposed giving their institutions less of taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The loudest protests are coming from…
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To These People, Gov. Corbett’s “C” Word Is an Epithet
Well. It sounds like the media and the educational establishment interpreted Gov. Tom Corbett’s inaugural address the same way I did. Since his inauguration, there has been a bunch…
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The Right Thing
I am infamous in the Commonwealth Foundation office and in my family for being old fashioned. There is a litany of reasons: I wear ties a lot. I even own…
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Glad Tidings…If You Love Freedom
It’s clear: The big government lovers in Pennsylvania are getting coal in their stockings. Just a few days ago, CF announced that we had already met our…
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Join Us on October 23, and Bring a Crowd
As promised, CF has rescheduled our LiveFreePA event for Saturday, October 23, from noon to 4 p.m. We’ll be celebrating our freedoms—which are, sadly, under attack in Harrisburg and…
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