‘We Can Lick the World with the Liberal Arts’
He had a degree in English Lit from an Ivy League institution. He sometimes quoted Shakespeare to his football team. Plus, he and his wife donated millions of dollars to Penn State’s library, as well as an undergraduate fellows program.
Joe Paterno always valued a liberal arts education, and here’s a look at how Paterno expressed that over the years. Many thanks to Vicki Fong ’81 — a manager of publications and public relations for Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts — for sharing.
First, Paterno addressing a group of Paterno Fellows. “We don’t need anything else. We can lick the world with just the liberal arts,” he said, prompting chuckles from the crowd. As Vicki wrote in an email: “It always makes me smile.”
Here’s another video on what it means to be a “Paterno Professor.” Michael Berube, the Paterno Family professor in literature, says, “Wherever I go, people of course ask, ‘Is that the Paterno family?’ I say, ‘Yes, there’s only one.’ And they’re just massively impressed.”
And lastly, in case anyone’s interested, here’s a PDF that you can download of Paterno’s iconic 1973 commencement speech. My favorite part about having Paterno as the keynote speaker? Looking at who he succeeded.
There were no speakers from 1960-69. In 1970, Charles Conrad Jr,. a NASA astronaut, spoke. In 1971, it was the Earl Warren, the retired Chief Justice of the United States. In 1972, it was James A. Michener, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author. And in 1973: Joe Paterno, Nittany Lion head football coach.
Emily Kaplan, intern