Welcome to Lawrence K. Pettit's Website!

I am a retired University President, Consultant & Writer. 
Here you'll find my blog posts, op-eds, reports, and links to my memoir: 

If You Live by the Sword. Enjoy!
A memoir of a dual caree
r in politics
and university leadership that spans over 30 years; focuses on four states and Washington, D.C.; highlights personal and professional battles and struggles; reveals the consequences of independence and moral courage in a conformist culture; illustrates the tumultuous results of mixing politics and higher education; reflects on the evolving American political history from 1937 t
o 2003 with linkages to the author's political socialization, intellectual development and career; and co
nveys m
essages about proper and improper executive, faculty union and board behavior, and a
bout the clash of imperatives between the s
tate and the university.

Monument erected at IUP - the first at any university - as a reminder of the tragedies of 9-11-2001.

All rights reserved. March 27, 2007-2012.

Praise for

If You Live
by the Sword

"Dr. Lawrence Pettit has proven that sometimes truth is more fascinating than fiction.His truthful, first-hand account of life
in politics and academia is a powerful account of the people, events and policy-making that touch us all. His “read to believe” stories of political and academic life provide a rare window through which modern politics and higher education can be better viewed and understood. They are stories from which we can all learn a great deal."

Tom Daschle, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader

“I was frequently moved by the ruthless honesty with which you have examined your life, as well as the clarity with which you have recounted it. Among the many ways in which you mentor, I think this is the one I most wish to emulate.”

Joy LaClaire, Host/Producer, Forthright Radio, Mendocino, CA

"The IUP chapters should be required reading for
anyone who aspires to be Chancellor of the SSHE, a President of any public university, an administrator at IUP, or a faculty union leader..."

Willard W. Radell
Professor, Department of Economics, Indiana University of Pennsylvania June 17, 2010
For more click here

“Tonight I completed reading your book, If You Live by the Sword. It is a wonderful and very meaningful book. Additionally, it is well written and captivating. Once I started reading it, I did not want to stop…

John C. Board, retired president of the Montana Education Association, June 20, 2010

“Dr. Pettit’s eloquent book is foremost an allegory of American political and cultural transformation. With humility, but without remorse, he navigates the reader from vicissitudes of the Great Depression to the political climax of America electing her first African-American president. Decorated with successful careers in higher education and mainstream politics, his life is truly a life fulfilled. Through this book he continues to inspire love for the American constitution of liberty and fair play. ” 

Haider Mullick
CEO, Red Teaming Associates

Adj Professor, Naval War College

For more click here

Dr. Pettit and former Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate,
and 1996 Presidential candidate, Bob Dole.

Dr. Pettit and Congressman John P. Murtha at the dedication
of the Murtha Institute for Homeland Security
at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2003.

For more photos click

Latest Commentary

A Private Medical School in Montana is Illogical Move

Jan 3, 2016 | I would support a private medical school in Montana also, if the school of medicine at Harvard, or Yale, or Washington University in St. Louis, Stanford or Duke wished to put a satellite in our state. But they do not.

Democrats have Stayed Moderate; GOP has gone Extreme

Aug 7, 2015 | Dan Moore (Aug. 4 and prior) was on a fool’s errand when he set out to establish that Republicans are more moderate than Democrats. Political science research has shown that among rank and file party members, Republicans have moved far to the right, and Democrats are about where they were in the 1970s...

GOP Resorting to Euphemisms 

April 6, 2015 | Legislative rhetoric suggests that someone has instructed those eccentric folks on the extreme right that if they yell “tyranny” when public policy disagrees with their biases, or if they regard government regulations on behalf of the health, welfare and safety of the public, or for a sound and just economy, as “government takeover,” such language will betray a sick mind.

A Political U.S. Supreme Court

April 8, 2014 | In its most recent decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the five-man conservative Republican majority on the Supreme Court of the United States removed any doubt that it is hell-bent on rubbing out traditional American democracy

Strategic Ignorance

April 4, 2014 | Today’s New York Times has an article about yet another United Nations report, warning of the real dangers of climate change, and the urgency for reducing greenhouse gases. This raises the question: can any sentient person still deny the reality of climate change?

March 20, 2014 | I noted your story about the county Republican Party barring Republican congressional candidate Drew Turiano from its annual dinner. The issue is Turiano's racist comments. County chair Jennifer Owens is quoted as saying, "There simply is no room for racists in this party."

January 16, 2014 | The Jan. 12 op-ed by Jonathan Zimmerman, reprinted from the L.A. Times, is right about the hegemony of football in college sports, but it is superficial in two regards. First, the mention of Title IX neglects to add that of the three standards for compliance the courts have used only the most strict, creating needless problems for universities, and effectively eliminating some of the options Zimmerman claims exist under the law.

With Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) at IUP, March 21, 1994

Dr. Pettit with Chad Hurley, Co-founder & CEO YouTube, March 2007

Dr. Pettit with Nancy Pelosi, Pittsburgh, 2004. 
Roger Reschini in the background

With former President, George H. W. Bush, in 1985 
when Bush was Vice President. King Ranch, South Texas.

For more photos click