Posts filed under ‘State College’

Different Digs Downtown

It’s that first—if not fleeting—moment when alumni step foot back on campus: What’s new downtown? What’s still here? The Cafe better still be here. (Oh, phew, The Cafe is still here.) And while every year alumni brace themselves for maybe one or two things different than they last remembered, those making the trek back this fall are in store for some big changes to the businesses downtown. Here are just a few.

  • Damon’s Bar & Grill, a fixture on East College Avenue for over 20 years, is now LETTERMANS sports bar and restaurant. Decked out in blue-and-white decor, LETTERMANS will also be the home to the Thursday night radio shows with Patrick Chambers and James Franklin.
  • Another mainstay on College Avenue, Mr. Charles, closed after three decades. The women’s clothing store was replaced by Anthym Running this spring, which will offer workout gear and accessories, plus fitness-related events for the community. 
  • Sheetz is inching closer to campus and is setting up (another) shop within what was formerly Duo Nightclub (which was formerly Tony’s Big Easy) on South Pugh Street. Students, rejoice: In true Sheetz form, this one will also be open 24/7. The 5,000 square foot space, which includes a take-out “beer cave,” should be ready for the fall.
  • The owners of The Deli and The Saloon opened up Liberty Craft House on prime real estate (College Avenue near the corner of Hiester Street) and with positive reviews for those looking for a non-college, college bar with a big craft beer selection.
  • Finally, Chili’s on South Allen Street closed its doors in May after 21 years of business. Champs Sports Grill—yes, that Champs—has plans to turn that space into its third location.

Amy Downey, senior editor

August 17, 2015 at 10:00 am 5 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — April 25, 2014

Saturday night’s alright: It’s the second-to-last weekend before finals, and there’s plenty to distract University Park students before the time comes to cram for exams. The annual Movin’ On outdoor concert kicks off Saturday at 2:30 with a lineup of six acts; Onward State offers a beginner’s guide to the performers, who range from “indie folk” to hip-hop, while the Collegian has the details on the late switch of headliners from New York rapper A$AP Rocky to Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa. Movin’ On is free as always.

And on Saturday night, the annual Blue and White Film Festival at the State Theatre will showcase the work of student filmmakers. Admission is free for students and $6 for non-students, and the curtain opens at 7 p.m.

Designing playwright: Some cool news on Carrie Fishbein Robbins ’64, who graced the cover of our March/April 2013 issue: The award-winning Broadway costume designer is set to debut two new plays she wrote. Sawbones and The Diamond Eater, one-acts plays Robbins penned, will have their world premieres next month at the off-Broadway HERE Arts Center in New York City. Also in May, Robbins is the main draw at the Alumni Association’s City Lights event, “Behind the Seams on Broadway,” also in NYC.

Out of this world: Onward State gets to know Eric Ford, the astrophysicist who was part of the team whose recent discovery of an Earth-like planet is getting lots of buzz. It’s good stuff, but I’m not gonna pretend I’m not disappointed that they didn’t ask him what kind of dinosaur he’d be.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

April 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 3, 2014

A kinder, gentler State Patty’s Day: The combined efforts of the university, State College authorities, local businesses, and many student groups seem to be working, as the fallout from this year’s State Patty’s Day festivities was largely minimized. For the third year running, crime was down in the borough, with State College police saying it was “similar to a football weekend.” As late-winter traditions go, it was nice to see the student-run Day of Service back for a fourth year.

Courtesy of Onward State

Maggie Lucas cradles another Big Ten trophy. Courtesy of Onward State

Three for all: The women’s basketball team on Saturday claimed its third straight Big Ten championship, beating Michigan 77-62. The Lady Lions’ terrific senior class went out in style in its last regular-season home game, with Ariel Edwards, Talia East, Maggie Lucas, and Dara Taylor all posting double digits in the win.

And speaking of champs: The Penn State women edged Michigan over the weekend to claim the program’s third Big Ten Indoor championship. And Shane Ryan, just a sophomore, set the Penn State and Big Ten record in the 100 freestyle to earn Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships. He’s the first Nittany Lion so honored.

All aboard: Thirty-two alumni will vie for three open seats in this year’s Board of Trustees election. Our Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g has the scoop, including details about the Alumni Association voting guide, which we’ll publish within the next month.

Right said TED: The fourth annual TEDxPSU event was held Sunday at Schwab Auditorium. Onward State has the highlights.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 3, 2014 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Feb. 4, 2014

Fashion statements: It’s official: James Franklin merch is hitting stores in downtown State College. Among the new designs, inspired largely by social media: “Franklion” tees, and gear emblazoned with some of Franklin’s most memorable quotes, including “Dominate the State.” Managers from The Family Clothesline and Lion’s Pride tell The Daily Collegian that the response to the Franklin items has been “very good,” and that new designs are already in the works.

On Key: You don’t have to convince me that Keegan-Michael Key ’96g is one of the most creative people on the planet. I interviewed Key back in November for an upcoming feature in the March/April issue, and more than making me laugh (though he did that — a lot), he also made me think. That smart brand of comedy landed Key and co-star Jordan Peele the no. 18 spot on FastCompany‘s list of 2013’s Most Creative People. The article delves into the duo’s writing process, which is both surprisingly simple and incredibly intelligent.

Screen shot 2014-02-04 at 11.20.48 AMFrom Hand to mouth: Penn State’s new offensive line coach Herb Hand had no idea that a simple tweet about his lunch would start an all-out firestorm. Coach Hand (@CoachHand) made a pitstop yesterday afternoon at Canyon Pizza for a slice and shared his whereabouts on Twitter (above). Local pizza purists shot back with comments questioning Hand’s choice and offering, shall we say, “suggestions” on where he might find better pizza in State College. (Onward State collected some of the most colorful tweets here.) Hand’s response: “I see a pizza throw down in the near future.”

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm 2 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 3, 2013

Coaching changes: Penn State’s longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher will not return for the 2014 season. Details of the coaches’ departures are still unclear, and Coach Bill O’Brien has not commented. Vanderlinden was one of only two members of Joe Paterno’s coaching staff to work under O’Brien. No word yet on possible replacements.

Here to help: Developmental psychologist Jennie Noll has been helping victims of child sexual abuse since she was a child herself, as Noll explains in a piece from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Noll, who started at Penn State in September as director of research and education for the study and prevention of child abuse, is one of five experts hired by the university to study and educate others about child abuse. According to the article, Noll is helping Penn State hire more experts in various disciplines to further examine the issue. Says Karen L. Bierman, director of the Child Study Center: “Penn State has grieved, but we’ve pulled together to try to make something positive and large out of this tragedy.”

That smarts: It’s not news to most Penn Staters that John Urschel ’12, ’13g is a smart guy. But thanks to this CBS News piece, more people know about the Penn State offensive guard—who also happens to have a masters in mathematics and is working on a second. In an interview with CBS, Coach Bill O’Brien talks about Urschel’s constant need for numbers: “If you give him a percentage of how many times this team blitzes, he wants to know the whole survey size and what games we looked at and how many numbers related. John, just take it from us: They blitz a lot.'”

We’re No. 3: State College is the third-best college town in the U.S., according to the American Institute for Economic Research, which based the rankings on how easy it is for students to get around, recreational opportunities, and cost of living, among other factors. Ithaca, N.Y. came in first, and Ames, Iowa took second.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

December 3, 2013 at 11:49 am 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 19, 2013

Sandusky spending: According to, costs from Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse case have risen to $51.8 million. That’s $2.4 million more than was last reported in June 2013. A graphic in today’s Daily Collegian provides a breakdown of the total cost, which includes legal fees, the NCAA fine, and consulting services.

“Betsy”: You’ve likely heard the story of Betsy Aardsma, the graduate student whose murder in Pattee Library has gone unsolved since 1969. But senior film student Tommy Davis wants people to know more. “Establishing [Betsy] as a true person was important to me,” Davis told Onward State‘s Jessica Tully. Davis has been researching Aardsma’s story since his freshman year, collecting information from experts on the case and interviewing people who knew Betsy personally. Davis’ full-length film, “Betsy,” opens at the State Theatre on Jan. 19.

Still basking: Yesterday, we told you about Matt McGloin’s stellar NFL debut as starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. Last night, McGloin ’12 talked to‘s Mike Poorman ’82 about post-game soreness, taking on Tennessee this weekend, and the flood of congratulatory texts (including one from Coach Bill O’Brien) he received after Sunday’s game: “My cell was blowing up after the game. And it still is even today.”

Photo by Julia Kern, Onward State

Photo by Julia Kern, Onward State

‘Tis the season: The State College Christmas tree is up downtown, which, depending on who you ask, marks the beginning of the holiday season. The tree lighting is still 10 days away (it’s scheduled for Nov. 29), but the big guy looks pretty good au naturel, don’t you think?

Mary Murphy, associate editor


November 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 17, 2013

Nifty gift: Penn State York received the largest gift in its history earlier this week thanks to Donald C. Graham, founder of The Graham Group. With the gift, Penn State York will establish the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies, which helps students secure internships at top companies in the York area. Said Chancellor David W. Chown: “Don’s philanthropy will have a transformative impact and establish a magnificent legacy for him at our campus.”

A “very good guy”: We were all saddened last May to learn about the death of Kyle Chase Johnson ’12, the former Lion Ambassador who passed away at the Pittsburgh Marathon (his story is on p. 61 of our Sept./Oct. issue). According to yesterday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Nittany Lion offensive guard Miles Diffenbach and his family were friends to Johnson, his mom, Mary Beth Deal ’87, and stepdad, Bryan Deal. After Johnson’s passing, Diffenbach reached out to the family, attending the funeral and, more recently, offering them tickets and field passes to last month’s game vs. Central Florida. He also presented the family with a jersey, featuring Johnson’s name and high-school football number, signed by the team. Coach Bill O’Brien wasn’t surprised by Diffenbach’s gesture; he told the Tribune-Review: “He’s a good player, he’s a good student, and he’s a very, very good guy.”

Zip it good: OK, so we’ve established that State College is one of the most walkable cities in America. But sometimes you just need a car. Onward State reports that, starting today, Zipcar car-sharing service is now available in State College, offering sweet rides —like a sporty Ford Focus, Toyota Prius, and more—for low hourly rates ($7.50/hour), and helping the car-less among us avoid grocery shopping trips that end like this.

courtyard propsal

Laura Youngers ’11 says ʺyesʺ to Ryan Ward ’10. Via the Penn State Alumni Association Facebook page.

Ring pops: I’m beginning to think there’s something in the air at Alumni Association events. Back in August, there was this elaborate proposal from the Syracuse pep rally in NYC (look for more on that in our Nov./Dec. issue), and last week, the Alumni Courtyard dedication ceremony inspired this rainy yet romantic moment just outside my office in Hintz. So, for those of you planning to pop the question, here’s the list of upcoming PSAA events. And don’t forget to invite me to the wedding.

Cute x2: Not awwwing yet? Well, check out this quick GoPSUTV clip of Lady Lion Maggie Lucas’ adorable pups, Gypsy and Gus. Because we all can spare 20 seconds for puppies.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

October 17, 2013 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

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