Back in August, after I posted some photos from a Penn State football practice, I got an email from Clint Mickel ’05, who does a little football photography of his own.
Clint is not one of the photojournalists who cover Penn State football for the news media. He’s just an alumnus (and former Lion Ambassador) who now works in marketing in Garwood, N.J., and has season tickets to the games at Beaver Stadium. He shoots with a Canon EOS 60D and a 70-300mm lens, and he has the other things that go into good photos as well: a good eye, patience, persistence, and the willingness to shoot in all kinds of weather.
He also has pretty good seats—in the first row along the corner of the north end zone.
“It’s a great seat for the outstanding views,” he adds, “but I constantly have photos of people’s backs as they walk in front of me to go to the concession stand.”
Anyway, I’ve been following Clint’s photographic efforts via his Flickr page over the course of the season, and now that the season’s over, I’ve pulled about a dozen of his photos that I thought you might enjoy. I’m sharing them with his permission—see the slide show below. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter (@SupportPSU) or go to Flickr to check out the other stuff he photographs.
Tina Hay, editor
Setting the mood: Some landscape architecture students are wrapping up a cool project in Pittsburgh. As part of a class called Pittsburgh Studio, a group of 12 students got to know residents of urban neighborhoods—and then created designs to meet their needs, such as more pedestrian-friendly paths and parks. Says senior Aaron Ramos: “It’s not just planting trees or plants, it’s creating an environment that puts someone in a certain mood.”
Do the math: Yeah, John Urschel’s been getting a lot of love this week in the media world. But here’s more praise for the mathmetician/offensive guard from today’s Sports Illustrated, in which SI writer Andy Staples explains why Urschel ’12, ’13g is his pick for 2013 Sportsman of the Year: “He embodies everything that a student-athlete should be. He embraced the opportunities presented in the classroom and on the football field, and he’ll probably play in the NFL before he moves on to a mathematics Ph.D. program.”
Hollywood hero: The story of Lt. Michael Murphy ’98 has gotten the big-screen treatment before—in the documentary Murph: The Protector. But now Hollywood is offering its own version. Lone Survivor, which hits theaters Jan. 10, tells the story of “Operation Red Wing” and the three Navy SEALS, including Murphy, who were killed in the mission. Taylor Kitsch (of Friday Night Lights) plays Murphy, and Marc Wahlberg (of the Funky Bunch) plays Marcus Luttrell, the only SEAL to survive. Check out the trailer here.
Blue Christmas: And because Clark Griswold-style holiday decor never gets old, today’s Onward State features another Penn State-themed light show, this one from Sally Simpson, mom of Blue Band prez Ryan Simpson. Impressive, to say the least.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
We had some pretty impressive fog here in Central Pennsylvania this morning. My friend Sue Baker, who works in the Eberly College of Science, took this photo on the mall on her way in to work. I thought it was a lovely image.
Tina Hay, editor
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.
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
Underdogs? 24-point underdogs? I’ll admit it: I was one of the doubters. I was the lector at Saturday night Mass, and I never dreamed that when I came out of church, the Nittany Lions would be on the verge of defeating No. 15 Wisconsin. I missed the entire second half, so I had a lot of catching up to do when I got home. Here’s what I did: watched this video from the locker room, this video of Bill O’Brien’s news conference, read this piece by Dave Jones of The Patriot-News about freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns and is racking up all kinds of recognition, and checked out John McGonigal’s game story in the Collegian.
Looking to the future: Can’t wait for next football season? Get ready now by checking out this analysis by Mark Wogenrich ’90 of The Morning Call and this New York Times story about the future of the Big Ten, which adds Maryland and Rutgers—and a new division configuration—next season.
In other sports: The men’s soccer team lost 2-0 to New Mexico in the Sweet 16, but it finished the season with a 13-6-2 record and with a long road trip—nearly 5,000 miles in the air, 600 on the road in the NCAA tournament. … The women’s volleyball team finished its regular season with a four-set victory over long-time nemesis Nebraska in a match-up of two Top 10 programs in Lincoln, and it will, as usual, open the NCAA tournament at home, 7:30 p.m. Friday against LIU Brooklyn. … The men’s basketball team advanced to the final of the Barclays Center Classic but fell to Ole Miss, 79-76, despite 23 points from D.J. Newbill. … Tournament MVP Maggie Lucas led the women’s basketball team to the championship of the Junkajoo Jam in the Bahamas, where the players also scored some quality time with some friendly dolphins.
Legal update: A couple of months ago, former president Graham Spanier requested “a bill of particulars,” regarding the charges he is facing in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. The prosecution answered last week, and although most of Spanier’s requests were denied, the lawyers did provide a list of what they called Spanier’s false statements in his April 2011 testimony before a grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky ’67, ’71g. Charlie Thompson of The Patriot-News does a nice job here summarizing the legalese. Next up in the case against Spanier, Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g, and Tim Curley ’76, ’78g: a hearing on several pre-trial matters, including the defense’s motion to quash the testimony of former university council Cynthia Baldwin ’66, ’74g, is scheduled for the week of Dec. 16.
“Mom away from home:” That’s what the two-time national champion Lionettes dance team members call Sue Cacciotti Sherburne ’95g, ’09g, their director, who’s also assistant director of the Morgan Academic Support System for athletes. Chris Rosenblum of the Centre Daily Times writes that Sherburne “gives the Lionettes tools for moving through life as well as they do through space.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
To the moon! We hope you read about Lunar Lion, the team of Penn State faculty, students, and alumni working to land a spacecraft on the moon by 2015, in our Nov./Dec. issue. The program announced a milestone this week: It has paid its launch reservation fee to Team Phoenicia LLC, which Bobby Chen of Onward State, who does a nice job translating science for lay readers, calls “basically a carpooling service for rockets.” This saves money for Lunar Lion, and the team’s leader, Michael Paul, explained: “Now we only have to target a fraction of that cost for launch and can apply our energy and funding to other areas of the mission.”
Boon for law students: Penn State Dickinson School of Law announced this week a new program called the Commonwealth Scholars Program, which will provide renewable annual grants of $20,000 to law students whose primary residence is Pennsylvania. Onward State called the announcement “incredible news” and noted the law school’s recent accomplishments and recognitions, while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that a decline in law-school applications likely factored into the program. The grant is renewable for all three years of law school—a potential savings of $60,000—and Commonwealth Scholars are still eligible for other grants and financial aid.
“American underdog vs. America’s team:” The underdog in this ESPN.com headline is none other than Matt McGloin ’12, who will be starting at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys—i.e., America’s Team. His amazing journey from walk-on at Penn State to undrafted rookie to starting NFL quarterback continues. I had to laugh at this line in the piece: “You have to wonder if the moment will be too big for him.” Yeah, I don’t think so. I guess the national media is still learning what we’ve found out over the past couple of years: Never, ever count out Matt McGloin. Maybe this game will raise McGloin’s profile a little more so that broadcasters such as Mike Francesca can get his name right.
And, of course, turkey tips: There’s “one thing you don’t want to share on Thanksgiving,” the College of Agricultural Science reminds us: “pathogenic bacteria.” Martin Bucknavage, a food-safety specialist for Penn State extension, weighs in with tips on how to clean, prepare, and cook your Thanksgiving turkey:
Enjoy your holidays! We’ll be back Monday, Dec. 2.
Lori Shontz, senior editor