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
Fellow, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding

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

GOP on the Wrong Side of History
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.

Tea Party Chutzpah
May 29, 2013
To deny tax-exempt status is not to deny an entitlement; it is to withhold a special benefit. It takes enormous chutzpah for a politically-active group to request such a benefit in violation..

Take Care in Measuring Universities
March 25, 2013
I do not know anyone in higher education who does not accept the need for performance evaluation. Those I know also believe in accountability to stakeholders, including taxpayers who provide funding to public institutions...

Matthew Bailey in his Feb. 6 letter asserts the Second Amendment is about only our right to defend ourselves against the “tyranny of the federal government.” People like Bailey define “tyranny” as having a democratically elected president with whom one disagrees...

Letter attacking Obama over gun rights off base
Dec 5, 2012, Helena Independent Record

Your letter policy advises against “significant inaccuracies,” but now and then one slips through. The Dec. 2 letter from Doug Brearey, for example, states, “There is no doubt that Obama through the U.N. would like to ban all guns in this country.”

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