Tensions between the board and the family have been high since the board ousted Joe Paterno in November as head football coach in the aftermath of child sexual abuse charges against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has denied all allegations. Paterno died in January at age 85.
Trustees chair Karen Peetz said after a board meeting Friday trustees "would like to be in talks with the Paterno family. We would like to have (widow) Sue Paterno back in the fold with regard to being an ambassador for the university."
Peetz was responding to a reporter's question about whether the two sides had been in contact since the university announced two weeks ago that it was providing millions in payments and benefits to Joe Paterno's estate and family members under the late coach's employment contract.
"We are regularly making overtures to have those kinds of conversations," Peetz said. "The Paterno family stands for Penn State. They've given much of their time and their funds to Penn State, so I have nothing but belief that's the case, that they're all about Penn State."
A spokesman for the family declined comment Friday evening.
Paterno was head coach for 46 seasons at Penn State, amassing two national titles and a Division I record 409 victories. The family is also known locally for its charitable giving, including millions to help build a campus library that bears the Paterno name.
The head coach testified before a state grand jury about a 2002 allegation against Sandusky that was passed on to him by a graduate assistant. Paterno fulfilled a legal obligation by relaying the accusations to his superiors, one of whom oversaw campus police.
Trustees have said Paterno had a moral obligation to do more, and have also cited a "failure of leadership" in severing ties with the coach.
Despite the touchy relationship with trustees and university leadership, Sue Paterno and son Jay Paterno have slowly been making more public appearances recently on campus, especially at charitable events. They have thanked alumni and fans who showed support following Paterno's departure as head coach.
Then thousands of students, alumni and fans lined the streets of State College in mourning for Paterno's funeral procession in January. They returned last month to the Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium to honor the coach again the weekend of the Blue-White spring football game.
"As Joe said ... it's because of all of them and who they are," Sue Paterno said before a charity 5K race for Special Olympics recently when asked how the support has helped the family. "Penn State is a magic place ... it's a magic place to be."
Jay Paterno, who coached quarterbacks under his father, has also been seen in recent weeks at other campus events including a pizza and ice cream social for Penn State seniors and the groundbreaking for a new ice hockey arena on campus.