Posts filed under ‘Undergraduate students’

President Erickson Speaks to Alumni Council One Last Time

This photo of the Erickson banner hanging on Old Main comes from @OnwardState.

This photo of the Erickson banner hanging on Old Main comes from @OnwardState.

As she introduced president Rod Erickson, who was speaking to Alumni Council one last time before his retirement, Alumni Association president Kay Salvino noted that there’s something unusual about Old Main today. Generally, banners aren’t permitted there. But now there’s one hanging above the iconic columns that thanks Erickson for 37 years of service to the university, and it will hang there for a week. Salvino ’69 noted that it was paid for by Penn State students.

Erickson noted, with a laugh, that he hadn’t been asked permission—and that he wouldn’t have given it. Then he got serious and said the tribute means a lot because it came from the students. In his retirement, he said, he hopes to keep helping with the Presidential Leadership Academy, where he’s gotten to know a number of undergraduates, and possibly take on some kind of a mentoring role.

Not during the winter, though. That’s when he’ll be fishing off the coast of Florida.

A few other noteworthy items from Erickson’s talk:

Capital campaign: It sounds as though Penn State will hit its goal for For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. That’s a whopping $2 billion, which would make the university one of only 12 institutions to raise so much money. Erickson said he doesn’t know the total—that will be announced Saturday night at the celebration for the end of the public part of the campaign. (And the campaign does continue through June 30; Erickson joked that he’ll have pockets full of envelopes this weekend, so anyone who wants to donate a little more can certainly do so.)

The anticipated success is especially sweet, Erickson said, because “two and a half years ago, a lot of people were telling us that we should drop the campaign, lower the goal” when the Sandusky scandal broke. “We said, ‘When the chips are down, the Penn State family will come through,’” Erickson said. “Indeed they did.”

Future challenges: Asked what he saw as the biggest challenge incoming president Eric Barron will face, Erickson returned to a theme he has sounded repeatedly: the affordability of a college education. He noted again that Penn State takes its status as a land-grant university seriously and it is proud that so many of its students are the first in their families to attend college.

Looking back: Asked if there’s anything he would have done differently, Erickson said the university was “not very well equipped” to communicate during the Sandusky scandal because the university’s communications had been set up to communicate with external constituencies, via news releases and the like. “We over-emphasized marketing,” he said, “and underemphasized internal communications.” He said Fred Volkmann, who has been serving as Penn State’s interim vice president of strategic communications since October, had emphasized the need to communicate with students, faculty and staff, and alumni. Erickson said he believes that Barron—who moved into Schreyer House today and will begin transitioning into the job Monday—will be looking carefully at the communications position; Erickson added that he hadn’t made a permanent hire because he thought the next president needed to put together his own team.

Out-of-state students: Erickson said Penn State now gets more applications from out-of-state than from Pennsylvania residents, and he added a fascinating tidbit. Pennsylvania is still the top overall state. But the next seven are New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, California, Texas, and Florida.

Lori Shontz, senior editor





April 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm 5 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — April 8, 2014

Relief on wheels: I got home Sunday from a few days in New Orleans, one of my favorite places on the planet and the site of this year’s CASE Editor’s Forum, the annual convention for us university magazine types. So it was cool timing today to see this story from The Times-Picayune on Aaron Wertman, a Penn State undergrad trying to help revitalization efforts in the city’s storm-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. His idea—a specially equipped trailer that would serve as a mobile design studio and tool trailer—has the support of a local non-profit, and he’s currently raising funds for the project on indiegogo. It’s an intriguing concept, and a very worthy cause.

Listen up: The list of spring commencement speakers is out, and it includes a couple of names that might be familiar to Penn Stater readers, including Beverly McIver ’92g, the fascinating painter and educator we profiled in our Nov/Dec 2011 issue. McIver will speak to Arts & Architecture grads. You can find the complete list of speakers, including those at campuses and at each of the colleges at University Park, here. Commencement ceremonies are scheduled the weekend of May 9-11.

From THON to Quidditch, leaders in their field: Our student media outlets have served up a couple of cool profiles to start the week. The Collegian features the story of Megan Renaut, a junior who was inspired to get involved in THON after a childhood friend was diagnosed with cancer. She was recently named executive director of THON 2015. And over at Onward State, there’s an in-depth profile of Matt Axel, the starting “beater” for Penn State’s club Quidditch team. The piece is loaded with information on the sport itself, which gets more popular by the year on college campuses, and also gives some insight into what makes Matt one of the best beaters in the country.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

April 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Eric Barron: In His Own Words

DSC_4680_Eric_BarronPresident-elect Eric Barron seems to like automotive analogies. He rattled off two when he spoke to the Board of Trustees on Monday afternoon, immediately after being named Penn State’s 18th president:

Auto Analogy No. 1: When Barron was learning to drive, his father told him to lift up his head and look not at the hood ornament, but down the road: “You will discover it is much easier to get where you are trying to go.” Barron found that the tip resulted in “a much better driving experience” and also turned out to be a good life philosophy. “Our job, all of our job, is to see down the road, sense the future, and ensure that this great institution is at the forefront of success and achievement.” (more…)

February 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Fighting Poverty, In Memory of Bill Cahir

Junior Natasha Bailey hopes to pursue a career with a non-profit organization in the future, but in the meantime her passion of helping others is being put to good use at Penn State. She’s one of eight students who’s part of Project Cahir (pronounced care): Penn State Students United Against Poverty, which was started in memory of Bill Cahir  ’90 Lib.

Cahir worked as a Washington based-journalist and congressional staffer. He joined the Marines after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to serve and protect his country. Cahir was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, leaving behind his wife, then pregnant with twins, his parents, and siblings. Last year, his brother, Bart ’94, with support from his parents, started a scholarship in their son’s memory to recognize the kind of man he was—a man who cared about others.

Bailey, a scholarship recipient, says the Cahir Corps hope to accomplish change that can last a while and not only help current students, but future students as well. “We’re dedicated to it and are trying to let kids in poverty know they’re not alone,” Bailey says.

No one is sure how many students live in poverty, but freshman Varghese Paul, another scholarship recipient, says, “We know it’s there.” He adds, “There are students here that aren’t getting the resources and things they need.”

That’s why the Cahir Corps chose to start by researching how poverty actually affects students. They are conducting surveys and contacting Penn State departments, such as University Health Services as well as downtown organiations that work with local residents living in poverty. Once they gather enough information, they plan to put their knowledge to action, but they need to know what students need first in order to prepare a proper plan.

Emil L. Cunningham, the club adviser, says, “Poverty is an issue that often goes unnoticed, but many of us will come across it.”

Sarah Olah, intern                                                             

January 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 4, 2013

Dreaming of a Blue Christmas: Actually, it’s no dream. The video below is the very real holiday light display set up by Robert Witt ’01 of Schwenksville, Pa. It started blowing up the internet yesterday, and it is something else:

I’m not gonna lie: I’m not sure I’d want to live right next door to that. But it is impressive work.

Hump day hoops: The 10th-ranked Lady Lions continue a tough non-conference schedule tonight when they host No. 4 Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The match-up marks the first meeting between Penn State coach Coquese Washington and her Fighting Irish counterpart, Muffet McGraw, but as the Daily Collegian tells us, the two have serious history: Washington played for and later coached under McGraw at Notre Dame, which won the 2001 national championship while she was an assistant.

The Nittany Lions fell at Pitt last night, 78-69, in their Big Ten/ACC match-up. It was a close game throughout, and an impressive showing for the Lions, who were playing their fifth game in 10 days. Pitt, unbeaten this season, is 106-3 all-time at the Petersen Events Center against non-conference opponents.

Getting a read: Americanah, a novel by the Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has been chosen as the Penn State Reads common book for the incoming class of 2014. (more…)

December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 18, 2013

He just won, baby: In case you somehow missed it, Matt McGloin ’12 started his first NFL game on Sunday. To be more specific: An NFL rookie who wasn’t offered a Division I scholarship and wasn’t drafted out of college started—and won—in his NFL debut. He wasn’t Peyton Manning, but for a rookie starting on the road, McGloin was nonetheless terrific, completing 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Most importantly, he led the Raiders to a 28-23 win.

Matthew McGloinFor more, here are game highlights and video from McGloin’s postgame press conference, and good stuff from one Bay Area columnist who celebrates McGloin as “the never-chosen one” who once again excelled in the face of the doubters. Good for him.

And a lot more sports: McGloin’s replacement Christian Hackenberg passed for 212 yards and a couple of TDs and got lots of help from a potent running game as the Nittany Lions beat Purdue(more…)

November 18, 2013 at 11:27 am 1 comment

Opera Program’s Latest is a Haunting Tale


The students in Penn State’s Opera Theatre program are staging a production of the tragedy Dialogues of the Carmelites tonight and tomorrow at University Park—and, if last night’s dress rehearsal is any indication, it’ll give you chills.

It’s a 1957 work by a French composer, Francis Poulenc, and is set in the bloody French Revolution of the late 1700s. Blanche, the central character, is an anxious, fearful young woman who becomes a Carmelite nun in hopes of feeling safer in life—and ends up being anything but. As Ted Christopher, the head of the opera theatre program, described it to me last night: “Blanche felt the world closing in on her, so she joined a convent … where she found the world closing in on her even more.”

Blanche’s character is fictional, but the larger story, the martyrdom of 16 Carmelite nuns in 1794, is not.

It’s a dark, intense, provocative production, and the final scene—the nuns singing as, one by one, they head off to their deaths—is incredibly moving.

Performances are at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow (Nov. 15 and 16) in the Esber Recital Hall, part of Music Building I. Tickets are $4.99 for the general public; students pay $2. More information is here, and some photos I took at last night’s dress rehearsal are below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tina Hay, editor

November 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm 1 comment

Gift from the Class of 2014: HUB Green Roof Terrace

2014 Senior Class GiftInstead of one big willow tree, the Senior class will be giving a whole bunch of trees. And plants. And benches. Maybe even a bird house.

The HUB Green Roof Terrace ended up being the winner in voting for the senior class gift, announced this morning in Heritage Hall of the HUB, by the 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee and President Rodney Erickson.

The HUB Green Roof Terrace will be completed along with the HUB renovations currently taking place and will advance the sustainability effort on campus, including reducing the heat island effect that traditional roofs create, allowing for better management of storm water, and creating a new habitat for plants, birds, and insects, according to the Office of Annual Giving.

Gift development chair Devron Lovick, a senior majoring in economics and sociology, said this year’s gift is especially exciting because it blends the theme of sustainability along with the theme of the student experience: “With the terrace, we can leave our mark on the revolving hub of student life, both literally and figuratively.”

Communications chair Danae Blasso, a senior journalism major, added that the gift choice this year was “very student driven” and hopes that not only students, but also alumni will support this year’s gift and donate. “The HUB is such a big part of student life, so it’s great that the gift this year will be a part of the new wing.”

The Hintz family also hopes that students will pledge their donations to the gift and has consequently initiated the Hintz Challenge: If at least 3,000 students pledge, the Hintz family will donate a $50,000 Trustee Scholarship to the university.

The exact architectural plans for the terrace have not been made yet, but the 2014 Senior Gift committee will definitely be a part of the development, according to Geoff Hallett of the annual giving office.

As for the other two choices, some members of the committee were surprised that the Heritage Willow tree did not win, but also realized that the HUB terrace would also be a great place on campus to return to year after year, with their children, grandchildren, or even just by themselves.

As far as the endowment for Counseling and Psychological Services, the committee members said there was a lot of passion behind those who voted for that particular gift and hope that those voters take their voices to other organizations within the university to make it a reality.

The amount of funding the gift receives will determine the size of the terrace. As of now, it will be built on the roof of the new wing being built.

Maggie McGlinchy, intern

October 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 3, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

World class: Another ranking has given Penn Staters something to crow about. This time, it’s the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which lists Penn State 49th out of 400 institutions from around the globe. We’re one of eight Big Ten schools ranked in the top 100. You can find the complete list and details on the methodology here.

A distinguished duo: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, are coming to University Park on Nov. 4 as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Careful while canning: It’s a story that comes up every year around this time: Students who travel for canning weekends (more…)

October 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm 1 comment

What’s New? Meet Our Intern, Sarah Olah

An introductory post from our fall intern, senior Sarah Olah.

My family and I traveled to Aruba a few weeks ago because I’m graduating in the spring and my mom wanted to have “our last family vacation.” During our seven-day trip, we met four Penn State families, had “WE ARE” chanted at us at the pool, and saw lots of Penn State merchandise—from people wearing it to seeing souvenir shops selling T-shirts saying “Penn State Aruba.”  Yes, we bought one.


Here’s the T-shirt our intern bought on vacation.

In Aruba—thousands of miles away from our home in the Poconos—we met two Penn State incoming freshmen, both majoring in engineering. And my brother was getting ready to move into his freshman dorm in East Halls—and major in engineering.

Can you say small world? Or incredible?


September 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm 3 comments

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