Ali Krieger on the Mend

Krieger during her playing days at Penn State.

Krieger during her playing days at Penn State.

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

May 1, 2015 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Leaping Toward Greatness

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 Jump

Photo by Cardoni

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

April 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Inside the May/June Issue

MJ_COVERforBCGThe May/June 2015 issue of The Penn Stater is en route to your mailbox, and we think you’re going to like it. The Penn State women’s rugby team made the cover and for good reason: They may just be the greatest college sports dynasty that you’ve never heard of. Ryan Jones ’95 Com spent some time with the legendary program — luckily, he wasn’t hurt during the reporting process — and found out there’s a lot more behind its success besides a flawless record. For the images on the cover, shot for us by photographer Bill Cardoni, we saw value in not Photoshopping out the bumps and bruises on these tough student-athletes.

Another highlight in this issue is the “College Jobs” feature on p. 32, starring … you! We asked readers to tell us about their most interesting college jobs — and we weren’t disappointed. From working in the kitchen of the Nittany Lion Inn to driving the Loop around town, we learned that there are plenty of ways to earn a buck in a college town.

You’ll also find a Q&A with Steven Zarit, one of the leading researchers of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other elder-care issues. The Penn State distinguished professor offers invaluable advice and resources for caregivers.

Also in this issue: The professor who helped shape the Shake Shack burger empire; an anthropologist who is featured in a PBS series; the first Nittany Lion to make it to the NHL; a track and field star with Olympic hopes; and more.

Have you already received the new issue? Let us know what you think. Comment below or email

Amy Downey, senior editor

April 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm 6 comments

Signs of Spring at the Alumni Center

Spring Hintz

I have no idea what’s going on here. I only know it means that spring has sprung.

Working in University House, our favorite reminder of the end of winter is the sign of newly hatched ducklings appearing suddenly, right outside our windows, around the Hintz Family Alumni Center pond. But a close second is the sign of students taking over the alumni center lawn. Once the weather’s warm enough—and we’re looking at perfect blue skies and a high of 68 today—the grounds surrounding Hintz become the setting for small study groups, lounging clusters of friends, and even entire classes relocated from nearby Willard or Sackett buildings.

And then, sometimes, we get students who we’re not quite sure what they’re doing.

This was the scene outside my office window earlier this morning. Experimental theater performance? Political statement? Caped calisthenics? Not a clue, but I do know that any sign of life emerging from another long, cold Happy Valley winter is a welcome one.

Ryan Jones, senior editor


April 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm 21 comments

Three Questions for the Trustee Candidates

Back in 2012, when a record 86 alumni were running for a seat on the Penn State Board of Trustees in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, we introduced a project designed to help voters sort through all those candidates. We patterned it after the voters’ guides that the League of Women Voters pioneered, and we called it “Three Questions for the Candidates.”

We’ve continued the project every year since then, even as the number of candidates has declined: 39 alumni running for a seat in 2013 and 31 last year. This year saw an even more dramatic drop, and in fact the race is essentially uncontested: Only three candidates are running for the three available alumni-elected seats.

We talked about it in-house, and decided that even with three unopposed candidates, the project is still worth doing. Alumni still need to know where their trustees, or potential trustees, stand on the issues. So we invited Anthony Lubrano, Ryan McCombie, and Robert Tribeck to answer this year’s three questions.

Tribeck sent us his answers, and you’ll see them on our site. McCombie responded that he wouldn’t be in a position to participate: “I am on travel until Easter Sunday with only my IPad to compose on and little thoughtful time,” he replied. “I don’t believe I will be able to frame these questions worthy of your publication and editor’s eye satisfactorily in time. I’m afraid you are going to do this without me this year. Sorry.” Lubrano didn’t respond at all.

Still, we’ve assembled the site, including not only Tribeck’s responses but also links to all three candidates’ bios and official position statements on the trustees’ website. Information on election dates and eligibility is on the site as well. We hope that you’ll check it out—and that you’ll vote.

Tina Hay, editor

April 3, 2015 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Movin’ On 2015: Behind the Lineup

When we wrote about Movin’ On in the latest edition of the magazine as one of our great spring traditions, negotiations were still underway for this year’s lineup. But we wait no longer, as the headliners were announced last week for the 40th annual student musical festival:

The key to drawing a crowd? “We make sure our lineup is incredibly diverse,” says senior Tara Bendler, the executive director of the event. “We understand how big Penn State is and we want to appeal to as many students as possible.” (And the fact that it’s ticketless and open to the public doesn’t hurt, either.)

“This is a wrap-up of the whole year and a thank-you to seniors as they move on and leave Penn State behind,” says Bendler. “That’s why we make sure it’s not just accessible, but more importantly just a great day of music.”

—Amy Downey, senior editor

March 6, 2015 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Coming Soon: The March/April Issue


State College may have dumped another five inches of snow on us last night, but we’re totally thinking spring here at The Penn Stater—just take a look at the sunny cover of our March/April issue. Don’t you feel better already?

The illustration by James Taylor (no, not that James Taylor) uses a mix of images from our all-time favorite warm-weather traditions at Penn State for the cover story, “Rites of Spring.” But look closely at the image: The British artist actually hand-cut these images and built them into a set, making it a 3-D collage of sorts. You can actually see the white floor—and a shadow or two—at the bottom of the page. Pretty cool.

Also in this issue is an exclusive Q&A with athletic director Sandy Barbour. Less than a year into her time here at Penn State, she sat down with senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 Com and opened up about Franklin, Paterno, and the NCAA, among other things.

Ryan was busy this issue, as he also penned a piece on alum, poet, and Penn State Brandywine prof Cameron Conaway ’07 Alt. Conaway’s poems on malaria, and mindfulness, are catching the attention of literature critics around the world.

Another highlight is a two-page story on the late Grace Holderman ’34 Edu by Vicki Glembocki ’93, ’03 MFA Lib. “Amazing Grace” was just that—and this performer spent a lifetime captivating audiences on and off the stage.

And if you haven’t already heard, Roger Williams ’73 Lib, ’75 MA Com, ’88 DEd Edu will soon retire from his longtime post as executive director of our alumni association. We get some parting words from him on page 23.

You’ll also find stories on the new Primanti’s in town, plus a recap of when State College resident Sarah Koenig spoke on campus about her smash hit podcast, Serial.

Look for it in your mailboxes soon!

Oh, and by the way—I’m a new senior editor here at The Penn Stater. Would love to hear from you, and especially if you have anything to say about the new issue. Drop us a line at or comment below.

—Amy Downey, senior editor

February 27, 2015 at 4:34 pm 2 comments

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