20171015 home - hold





[let's make state college the premier place]

Live. Work. Learn. Play.

My son Lake, wife Tonya and I thank you for your VOTE on November 7th


VOTE BLACK for MAYOR. Polls open in...

As your mayor, I will stand for:

Neighborhood Protection

Protection is in lockstep with Preservation and EnhancementHonor all structures. Respect and build diverse neighborhoods. Create affordable housing. Enact and show support of smart building. Preserve and enhance our green spaces, parks and outdoor meeting points. Support the ideal of having and maintaining quality schools and houses of worship. Acknowledge the benefits of first class municipal services. Sustain the privilege of safe village living.

Business Growth

Nurture existing our commercial businesses family. Encourage and support new business start-ups. Routinely explore, implement and evaluate innovations, creative strategies, and new ways of providing goods and services. Facilitate opportunities for our commercial family to experience and share next level growth. Coordinate with strategic partners within and exterior to the borough for planned growth.

Community Affairs

Embrace the all residents and “micro-cultures” of our community. Demonstrate true inclusivity of the constituents of the borough. Invite, pursue and nurture new relationships. Create routine opportunities for engagement in and appreciation of visual, performing and culinary arts and artists. Ally with Penn State and our surrounding township partners, so that our initiatives are in synchronicity. Energize our state lawmakers and hold them accountable to support our needs. 

PARTY ASIDE. I am a Democrat who won the Republican primary with the highest number of write-in votes. This means I will be a Democrat appearing on the Republican side of the ballot. This unusual situation creates an amazing opportunity for us to unite as people regardless of party affiliation. I am reminded of a quote by President John F. Kennedy, who said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. . . . Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” 


LEADERSHIP. The mayor of State College should advance our community by example and promote cooperation between and among all people. My 27-year residence in the Borough of State College engaged in business, education, volunteerism and family prepares me to provide that leadership with passion and positivity.


BALANCE. The mayor presides at Council meetings and has veto power over ordinances adopted by Council. This responsibility requires the ability to focus on details while supporting a larger vision. It requires real-life experience balanced with actively listening to all people. It requires an even hand, patience, good judgment, efficiency, a sense of humor and above all, kindness. These are qualities that grew in my half century of life being present in family, work and community. 


SETTING A VISION. I want State College to be an even more attractive, vibrant and welcoming community—economically, culturally, recreationally and logistically. There is already so much that is good about State College. My goal as mayor is to work with all of our residents, neighborhoods and businesses to make it even better. I will reach out to Penn State and surrounding communities to help position State College and Centre County as premier locations to live, work, learn and play. 

Registering to VOTE is easy and only takes a few minutes online. You MUST register by October 10th.

There are several polling places in State College. Some change at the last minute. Check to find out where yours is.


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Oct. 2nd, 7:30 pm | UPUA DEBATE  | HUB Freeman Auditorium

Oct. 12th, 6:00pm  | CDT INTERVIEWS TO ENDORSE A CANDIDATE | In-house Private Interviews

Oct. 17, 7:30 pm| COLLEGIAN & CDT DEBATE | State Theatre

Oct. 18, 7:20-7:45 pm (approximately)| LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS DEBATE | Borough Building

Oct. 23, 1:00 pm | SCASD STUDENT RUN DEBATE| DELTA Auditorium

Oct. 30, 7:00-8:00 pm | FOXDALE DEBATE| Foxdale Auditorium


Question. Why do you want to be mayor? 
Answer. After the 2016 election many folks myself included were left disillusioned with politics in general. It forced me to revisit how I wish to continue to contribute to the town I love. I really want the opportunity to give back to the community that has given my family so much. With my 25 years of academic, family, small business and community service relationship experience, it’s the RIGHT TIME with the RIGHT PEOPLE for the RIGHT REASONS.

[Thanks Harshil Patel and FitSoul for your very mindful and needed work.] 

I came here 25 years ago as a Penn State graduate student and decided to make this community my home, and have forever since been firmly invested in the Borough of State College as a resident, homeowner, small business owner, husband, father and neighbor. I’ve been a community volunteer here since the day I arrived serving in positions including WKPS/WPSU radio host, youth coach, member of numerous committees and Leadership Centre County’s executive board.  But I know I can do more. I’m running for Mayor because I know we can do better.

State College Borough is our quaint town, however it chugs away every day with many moving parts some being very delicate, sensitive and special. In my view, it’s the people of State College who are most important. Because the residents, work force and guests of our community are the heartbeat of our town’s very existence.

I would be honored to represent you and the best interests of State College. I want to talk with each of you about your interests, passions and concerns. Please tap me on the shoulder any time you’d like – on the street, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop, on the ball field or let me know what works for you. I know we can do better. I’m ready to be accountable to each and every one of you to build the vibrant community we all want.

If you want
Neighborhood Protection,
Business Growth,
Community Affairs, and
to hold government accountable, then
I need your VOTE NOV. 7th.

As mayor, I feel it is more important to be an ambassador and diplomat for the Borough rather than being recognized as a politician.

Father. Husband. Creative. Coach. Changemaker. Life-long Learner.

Black earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Springfield College in 1985 and his master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988.  He spent the next three years as a student affairs professional at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He moved to State College in 1991 to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Penn State Higher Education with a focus on Human Development.  Black was very active in campus life as a doctoral student, serving as an on-air host for WPSU and WPKS; a coordinator for the Penn State Cross Cultural Health Program; a member of the Graduate Student Organization; and, a student representative on the Penn State Budget Committee.

While a graduate student, Black reinvigorated his creative and entrepreneurial talents and spirit. He started his own business, BLACK SUN studio, in 1994 and by 1997 decided to devote his full attention to being an advertising and editorial photographer, designer and creative director.  In 2005, he designed and built the LABB, a 9,500-square-foot creative studio and arts space located on East Beaver Avenue.

Black is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Centre County and currently serves on the executive board.  He had served on the advisory council of the Penn State Center for World in Conversation and is a youth coach for State College Little League, Centre Soccer, OLV HOOPS, Grow the Game, and SC AIR.  His wife, Tonya, is a teacher in the State College Area School District; their son, Lake, is a student at the DELTA school.

  "Life is all about relationships—with other people, the planet and ourselves. We must nurture these relationships and appreciate them for the gifts they are."
"Life is all about relationships—with other people, the planet and ourselves. We must nurture these relationships and appreciate them for the gifts they are."


Black fits the job. When we reflect back on our 33 wonderful years in this community and we consider Michael Black as the new mayor, a single strong impression emerges. He fits the job. Michael has the character, the passion, the creative flair and perceptive touch to continue the servant leadership. [Read full story here: cdt]. Kevin and Georgia Abbey, Executive Director of Leadership Centre County

"A vote for Black won’t disappoint. I’ve known Michael Black for five years. He is a fantastic husband and father, he steps up as a community volunteer when needed, he is reliable, and he is the most passionate man I know when it comes to following through with what he believes in. Black has been a longtime resident of State College, a highly successful and professional businessman, and he truly cares about this community. Casting a vote for Black for mayor will ensure that your voice matters, and that his energetic character follows through to make the State College community a better place for everyone. I know he will strive for inclusiveness and transparency, and I urge you to vote for Black for mayor. You won’t be disappointed." [cdtJeff Peters, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Deputy Director, The Penn State Cancer Institute

Black, a Future Worth Supporting. I have known and worked with Michael for many years and am always impressed and inspired by his boundless energy, creative ideas and ethical integrity. While his young family has grown up in State College, Michael has come to understand the diverse range of contributions that make State College such a wonderful place to learn, live and enjoy. I believe that he appreciates, and will be able to manage, the delicate task of town and gown relations, as well as safeguarding the well-being and prosperity of the borough residents and businesses. As a 56-year resident of the State College borough, a future with Michael Black as mayor is one that I feel very comfortable supporting. [Read full story here: cdt]. Susy Glenn, Owner, Best Event Rental

Black’s talents will enhance borough. Michael Black and I went to graduate school together and we have been friends ever since. After nearly 30 years of friendship (and life in State College), I really cannot imagine a better candidate to be our mayor — and I am grateful to Michael for his willingness to step up to this challenge. I am not a Democrat (or a Republican), so I am not speaking at all from a party perspective — or even a political one. I just have the vantage point of seeing Michael Black, the whole person, not the candidate most of you will get to know publicly. What I would want each resident and voter to know is that no matter what I have seen Black do, he puts his whole self into it. In fact, when making a decision, my husband and I often ask ourselves, “What would Michael Black do?” So it sincerely excites me to think how Michael’s talents will translate into “mayoring." [Read more here: cdt]. Laurie Mulvey, Executive Director, World In Conversation

Black The Right Choice. I have known Michael Black and his family for almost 20 years. Michael represents the type of leadership that our beloved town needs. He is a loyal friend and neighbor, a dedicated family man, a successful small-business owner and a creative problem-solving leader who will sustain our current success while fostering positive change. His passion for inclusivity, connection, respectful communication, and community will guide us to an even more prosperous future. [Read full story here: cdt]. Deb Schram, Teacher, SCASD

Thumbs Up for Black. Mike and Tanya have shared their cross-cultural experiences as well and I know they will be a big part in bringing the community together in Happy Valley. I’m sure Mike will follow in the footsteps of our great mayors: Arnold Addison, Bill Welsh and, most recently, Elizabeth Goreham. A vote for Michael Black is a vote for a better community, addressing the concerns of our community. [Read full story here: cdt]. Andrew Jackson Sr., Educator, Musician

Black Would Be A Great Mayor. Michael’s commitment to his fellow residents is evident through his history of involvement in community activities like Little League coaching and serving on the executive board of Leadership Centre County. [Read full story here: cdt]. Sally Baker, Psychologist

Black cares about State College. I am pleased and excited to see that Michael Black is running for mayor of State College. My husband and I met Michael about 25 years ago when he bought our home on North Allen Street in College Heights. That street had become a busy thruway that connected Park Avenue with North Atherton. It was frustrating to us that our small neighborhood was subjected to constant traffic that was noisy and potentially unsafe to young children. Mornings and early evenings were especially bad. It was clear that homes along this street were becoming rentals. [Read full story here: cdt]. Melissa Carpenter, State College Resident and renowned potter

Finally The Right Man. I admire the man, the husband and the father he is and continues to become. He’s a man of genuine honesty, integrity and love. As a mother, businesswoman and philanthropist who has dedicated her life to the welfare of our community and Penn State, I can honestly say that my dear friend Michael is the future leader we all need [Read full story here: cdt]. Helen Woskob, Business Woman, Philanthropist

Our Next Mayor. When Michael Black and I first met we were colleagues at a university in Cleveland. Even then, I saw in him something that I see today: a man with enduring optimism, inspiring ideas, and an individual with incredible persistence, the kind psychologists call “grit” because it can only come from facing life’s difficulties with the determination to make things better for one’s self and others. Michael has these qualities to give to State College. He is a genuine individual dedicated to his family and to the shared community values that instill a unique sense of pride in the hearts of the children who live there, so no matter where in the world they may reside, they will still call State College “home" [Read full story here: cdt]. Jess Sellers, CWRU, Director of Psychological Services

Black Has Vision For Community. His vision of the community is a healthy mixture of idealism and pragmatism. For example, while he believes in the importance of continued commercial growth in the borough, he also knows that it must be balanced by protecting the interests of property owners, tourists, students as well as neighboring municipalities. [Read full story here: cdt]. Taylor Greer, Faculty, Penn State, School of Music

Then I personally recognized and felt this disconnect between myself as a Penn State student and the town of State College, one of the many problems Black would like to improve upon as mayor. “There’s this perception that students are not residents,” Black said. “I think we can do so much better with that, just by including everyone in that common voice.” [Read the full story here: collegian]. Katie DeFiore, News and Features Writer

Proud To Support Black For Mayor. I have known Michael for more than 15 years and have been continuously inspired by his positive energy, both professionally and personally. I can speak firsthand that Michael Black is and always has been a fair, passionate and goal-oriented individual, as I had the honor to work for him as a clerical assistant at Black Sun Studio. He strives toward high expectations, and steers away from mediocrity and stagnant plateaus. Not only is he an innovative thinker and leader, but Michael Black is also a doer. He enthusiastically demonstrates the work-life balance as he is a dedicated businessman, community leader, husband and father. [Read full story here: cdt]. Amber Ligetti, Teacher, BESD

Black offers new leadershipMichael Black offers a unique blend of experience and vision to the office of mayor of State College. We have known Michael and his family for nearly 30 years. We admire his tireless ability to think big, listen thoughtfully, work energetically and connect people of all ages and interests into a vibrant force excited about making a better community. [Read full story here: cdt]. Vicki Fong, retired writer Penn State University.

Why Michael Black? Michael is prepared to commit his talents, experience and vision to lead State College. Michael, his family and his peers represent the generation of bright spirit and quality that this community has committed to attract and retain. My family and friends love Michael. And this is why we will vote Michael Black, an accomplished neighbor with a fresh perspective, to serve as our new mayor. [Read full story here: cdt]. Julie Desmond, US Airlines Manager

Black Brings People Together. Michael Black has the work ethic and positive outlook that brings people together. As a lifelong resident of State College, I am proud to support Black for mayor. I've known him for almost 25 years and through that time he has been consistently positive, energetic and outgoing. He genuinely cares for State College and its residents. His talents are diverse and his leadership skills are immediately apparent. [Read full story here: cdt]. Michael Kipp, Surveyour

“I’m not a politician — I’m not that guy,” he says. “But an ambassador and a diplomat — I am that guy. To speak highly of the town, to negotiate some sort of relationship with the university, with other townships, to negotiate two conflicted parties to some sort of resolution, I think I can do all that pretty well.”  [Read the full story here: scm]. Robyn Passante, Editorial Writer

A democratic mayoral candidate guided by five core values:

• Inclusivity • Mindfulness • Empathy • Creativity • Vibrancy

I believe these five values will enable State College to be better and reach its full potential in every aspect of what we do, how we do it and why we do it.  We must be honest, reflect on who we are and challenge ourselves to improve. I promise to listen carefully, to consider all sides of an issue, and to make decisions with the utmost integrity.
Most importantly, I want you to hold me accountable.


Get Involved

Team Swag


Folks out in these cool threads are on our team working for a more vibrant and inclusive State College. We are tireless at getting to know all State College residents and friends.

If you would like to join our volunteer team and get involved at any level then we'd love to have you. Just let us know via the sign up link.

 CREATIVE SOLUTION: recycle 5,000 abandoned Penn State football spirit buttons with BLACK for MAYOR stickers.

CREATIVE SOLUTION: recycle 5,000 abandoned Penn State football spirit buttons with BLACK for MAYOR stickers.