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2003 Distinguished Alumnus

Posted: June 12, 2009

Roger A. Madigan '51 Dairy Production
Rodger A. Madigan

Rodger A. Madigan

Senator Roger Madigan has devoted his life to promoting agricultural concerns and the welfare of all citizens in Pennsylvania. He serves as the state senator for the 23rd Senatorial District--a position to which he was elected in 1984. His constituency includes Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Union counties. Madigan is known as the rare politician who consistently puts the needs of his constituents above partisan politics--a true coalition builder.

Madigan graduated with a B.S. in dairy production from Penn State in 1951 and operated a dairy farm in Towanda for 13 years (1951-64). He made his way to the legislature because, as he puts it, "As a farmer I became involved in the farm bureau and worked on legislation to improve the standing of the farm community. It was a labor of love that led to working for equitable legislation as a senator."

Madigan served in the House of Representatives, representing the 110th District, which includes all of Bradford County, from 1977 through 1984. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, vice chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee, and is a member of the Appropriations, Labor and Industry, and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees. He is also chairman of the Joint State Government Commission and a member of the State Transportation Commission and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System's Board of Trustees.

From 1988 to 1993, he served as chairman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee; he led the fight for legislation that became known as the Madigan Triggers—legislation that stabilized Pennsylvania's Unemployment Compensation System and saved the state more than $400 million in interest payments to the federal government. For this and other efforts, he was named the 1989 "Government Leader of the Year" by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, its highest public sector honor. Senator Madigan is the only state legislator to have ever received this award.

In 1993, he was the first recipient of the Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association for his efforts to reform the state's Worker Compensation System. Created to recognize exceptional effort, this award is not presented annually.

In the same year, he received one of his most treasured awards: the National Association of Homebuilders named him State Elected Official of the Year and presented him with its State and Local Government Affairs Recognition Award.

Madigan has received award upon award for his service, but among his proudest are those associated with Penn State: the Alumni of the Year Award given by Delta Theta Sigma fraternity in 1991, and the Distinguished Dairy Alumnus Award from the Department of Dairy and Animal Science, presented in 1995.

Madigan served as an agricultural trustee of The Pennsylvania State University from 1979 until 2001. In February 1991, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. Now a Penn State trustee emeritus, he says, "I have served Penn State because only through education do we prepare our young people for the responsibilities of government and citizenship in the Commonwealth." He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and a trustee of the Guthrie Medical Center in Sayre.

Other community activities include membership in the Rotary Club, various Masonic Orders, Bradford Lodge, Bradford Sullivan County Farmers’ Association, Union Grange, the Bradford County Holstein Club, and the Pennsylvania Holstein Association.

With his late wife, Peggy, Madigan has four children--Vicki, Annette, Nicholas, and Steven--and two grandsons. He continues ownership of his farm and personally oversees its forestry aspect.