Penn Staters know Walter Bahr as one of the best soccer coaches in school history, but he is more widely known as one of the greatest soccer players in U.S. history. In fact, a panel of 20 American soccer writers, journalists, and analysts in British publication The Guardian just named the former midfielder the 24th-best USMNT player of all time. One voter asserted that Bahr—who assisted on the only goal in the famous 1-0 upset of England in the 1950 World Cup—is the greatest player to ever wear the red, white, and blue.
Bahr, a National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee who we profiled in the fall of 2013, has Penn State ties that go beyond coaching. Three of his four children were athletes in Happy Valley: Chris ’75 and Matt Bahr ’79 were stars on both the pitch and the gridiron, while Davies Ann Bahr ’81 was an All-American gymnast.
Bill DiFilippo, online editor
The Penn Stater is seeking THON tales! Alumni who participated in THON at any time in its history are invited to submit their stories to The Penn Stater magazine for an upcoming feature. The magazine is interested in hearing from those who danced, served on a committee, worked behind the scenes, or took part in any other way. Alumni are encouraged to submit anecdotes and other short memories (no longer than 250 words) about any aspect of THON: a canning trip, the preparations for the long weekend, and memories from the weekend itself are just a few examples.
Whether heartfelt, funny, or quirky, the best of the tales will appear in an upcoming issue of The Penn Stater. Stories can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to The Penn Stater magazine, Hintz Family Alumni Center, University Park, PA 16802.
A photo shoot of ice cream on a hot day is harder than it looks—or, should we say, softer? Art director Marc Kauffman scooped quickly while photographer Nick Sloff ’92 A&A snapped his camera even faster to capture the perfect Creamery cone for our July/August cover. The issue, which should be in your mailbox soon, celebrates the sesquicentennial anniversary of one of the greatest traditions at Penn State: the Berkey Creamery. We look back at its storied history, plus learn about what’s in store for the next 150 years.
Also in this issue is an interview by senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 Com with Eric Barron. The Penn State president reflects on his first year in office and talks about why he’s optimistic about the future of the university.
Ryan also wrote a piece on philanthropist and freshman Neha Gupta in “The Unrelenting Power of One.” We discover that Gupta, who already leads an international charitable network, is just getting started.
We also welcome the 79th president of the alumni association, Kevin Steele ’92 JD Law, on page 54. The Dickinson Law grad brings a decade’s worth of Alumni Association volunteer experience to the position.
Another noteworthy story in this issue is on the late Fran Fisher. Read about how the Voice of Penn State Football was loved—and will be missed—by the Penn State community on page 24.
There’s also a recap of the spring sports programs, which includes a national powerlifting title for Eliraz Katz. And, on page 18, find out what Joel Myers ’61, ’63 MS, ’71 PhD EMS has to say about his new AccuWeather television network.
We’d love to hear what you think about the new issue. Drop us a line at email@example.com or comment below.
—Amy Downey, senior editor
When Catie Benson stopped by the Hintz Family Alumni Center a couple of weeks ago to pick up a box of our May/June issue, I asked her about preparations for her final collegiate rugby game. The fifth-year senior played up the quality of the opposition, a Central Washington University team in its first year of varsity status but loaded with experienced transfer players. On paper, it looked pretty evenly matched, like the Lions would have their hands full.
So much for that.
On Saturday, the Penn State women’s rugby team won its fourth straight national championship in typically dominant fashion, dispatching CWU 61-7. Katie Mueller (that’s her at rear left on our cover) was named MVP of the title game, while Hope Rogers (front and center, cradling the ball) scored a pair of tries in the romp. It’s the 10th overall championship for the Lady Ruggers, a run of dominance we had in mind when we used the word “dynasty” on that cover.
Kate Daley ’09, the former All-American who took over as the Lions’ interim coach last fall, flinched when she heard that word. Perhaps, like Catie and the rest of the team, she really thought Penn State might struggle against CWU. Or maybe she didn’t want to be seen taking an opponent lightly. Our guess? She just didn’t want to ruin the suspense.
Regardless: Congrats to Kate, Catie, Hope, and the rest of this terrific team, and thanks for making us smart.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
In our May/June issue, Gary Werkheiser ’81 Bus talked to us about the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter’s benefit known as Lights Camera Cure: The Hollywood Dance Marathon. The event, which raised over $101,000 this spring, has been a labor of love for the PSULA Chapter president and his wife Valerie Hudak Werkheiser ’81 Bus. “The first year, we hosted about 80 people at our house, which is near the Hollywood sign, and raised a couple thousand dollars,” says Werkheiser, adding that it wasn’t until after that event when they decided to create a formal committee. “My wife and I, together with a group of younger alumni, came up with the idea to do a miniature version of THON, but put a Hollywood spin on it.”
Now in its fourth year, the Hollywood Dance Marathon has evolved into, well, a Hollywood production. The six-hour dance marathon happens in a historic nightclub named the Avalon located in the heart of Hollywood. There’s non-stop entertainment from DJs to dance performances. There’s press. And a red-carpet procession before the event. And those in attendance—about 1,000 people—could hit up the open bar, photo booths, and silent auction.
And, naturally, there were some celebs. Lindsay Arnold from Dancing with the Stars taught the line dance. Actor Ty Burrell ’97 A&A sent a video message for the group, which they aired on screen. And Tom Bradley ’78 Bus, ’86 MS H&HD—who is now with the UCLA football staff—popped in, staying until the very end. “He asked if he could hold up one of the numbers at the final reveal,” says Werkeiser.
But underneath all of this glitz and glam is, of course, the Four Diamonds Fund and helping kids with cancer. Dancers raised a minimum of $300 each to participate and didn’t sit down during the duration. There was a family time, and cancer survivors and their families spoke to the crowd. Proceeds benefitted THON, but they also went to programs at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, which helps to fight pediatric cancer in the local community. “Our alumni base out here is much smaller than back east,” says Werkheiser, adding that this event really connects younger alumni with older alumni. “But the Hollywood Dance Marathon is getting bigger every year.” To date, the event has raised nearly $300,000.
Amy Downey, senior editor
There’s a great piece in Friday’s Washington Post on Ali Krieger ’07, a member of the 2011 and 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer teams. Krieger, also a star for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League, suffered a concussion in a league match three weeks ago, a health scare that also put a dent in her hopes of starting at the World Cup this summer. But at a time when head injuries in sports are in the news more than ever, Krieger is benefiting from heightened caution about just how much care—and time—these athletes need before they can safely retake the field. Here’s wishing Ali luck in her continued recovery. Can’t wait to see her back in red, white, and blue this summer.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Look for more of Steve Waithe in our May/June 2015 issue.
A few short years ago, Steve Waithe couldn’t have imagined his future. If anything, his future wasn’t something he thought much about.
“I didn’t have much of a mentality to do well in school—I didn’t really think I had anything to work for,” Waithe says. He’s thinking back to his high school days in Maryland, when by his own admission, he didn’t take his academics or athletics seriously. “Honestly,” he says, “I was just kind of playing around.”
Waithe is hardly the only 15- or 16-year-old kid who lacked motivation, but when he finally found it, it was almost too late. In his final two years of high school, Waithe realized he had the potential to be good—maybe even great—in the long and triple jumps. He quickly became one of the best prep jumpers in the nation, but having dug himself into a hole academically, he couldn’t get his grades up in time to qualify for a Division I college. When he landed at Shippensburg University, it was with a very different mindset. And a plan.
“Before I even started to compete at Shippensburg, I told my coach, ‘I believe I’m a Division I-caliber athlete,’” Waithe recalls. “He was just happy to have me there in the first place, and he was really supportive. We came up with a program to make sure my academics were where they needed to be. There was no hostility. It was a good experience.”
Waithe spent a year and a half at Ship, where he set school records in the triple jump and earned DII All-America honors. While there, he also competed in the Junior World Championships for Trinidad & Tobago, where his parents and two older brothers were born. Both experiences were launch pads to bigger dreams: A transfer to Penn State, with its world-class facilities and coaches, and a chance to represent the nation of his roots at the Olympics.
With his academics in order, Waithe adapted to the higher DI competition in no time, winning the Big Ten outdoor title last spring in the triple jump, his top event, and placing fourth in long jump for good measure. He posted top-six finishes in the triple at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, earning All-America status in both events. He’s aiming for more of the same this spring.
As for the Olympics? Waithe says he’s already earned a slot on T&T’s 2016 team; assuming he hits the standard distance, he expects to be in Rio next summer. “It’s becoming less of a goal and more of a reality,” he says. “I just need to keep progressing the way I’ve been progressing. I know I have so much more potential.”
Ryan Jones, senior editor