Tyrique Whitson, a rising junior at Pennsylvania Western University, has been appointed as the student trustee representing the California campus on the PennWest Council of Trustees.

He was approved by the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education at its April meeting and is expected to serve on the PennWest council until he graduates.

Whitson, of Pittsburgh, a dual major in sociology and political science, was among the first class of students to begin studies at PennWest, which became a university in 2022.

“I wanted to get into the role and bring a new energy to it,” Whitson said. “I think we are on our way to being student focused or driven. I’m very interested in getting to that point and having PennWest be what it is supposed to be. I want to make sure students are happy here.”

The new trustee, who will attend his first meeting in June, is also on the board of directors of the Student Association Inc. and has participated in the PennWest Leadership Academy. He volunteers with a holiday toy drive organized by former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics, and the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.

A love of the California campus runs in the family.

“I knew of Cal U because of my sister going here, and she liked it, so I looked at it. I took a tour, and I thought, I can’t not come here. I felt like I was meant to be here.”

He’s approaching his new role with an expected mix of nervousness and excitement.

“It’s unknown territory,” Whitson said. “But I met some of the California trustees on campus, and they put me at ease. It presents great leadership opportunities for me as a student. Hopefully I can help to make PennWest great.”