Award-Winning Poet Hopkins Gifts Libraries His Private Collection

Photo via Ellysa Cahoy

Award-winning children’s poet and author Lee Bennett Hopkins recently informed the Penn State University Libraries that he would be giving them his entire personal collection of children’s poetry books, manuscripts, and correspondence.

A small portion of the valuable collection—boxes and boxes stored in Hopkins’ Cape Coral, Fla., home—has already been sent to the Special Collections Library at  University Park, and soon, Karla Schmit, interim head, Education Library and Director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Ellysa Cahoy, education and behavioral sciences librarian and assistant director for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, will determine where to house the rest.

Hopkins’ private collection is valued at more than $2 million and comprises, among others, 18,000 children’s poetry books, as well as letters from Dr. Seuss. It’s a significant gift to the Penn State libraries, Schmit says, and will be a huge draw for scholars of children’s literature.

But the gift also cements (more…)

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October 18, 2017 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

Barry Myers Tabbed to Lead NOAA

President Trump has nominated a Penn State alumnus to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers ’67 Lib, CEO of State College-based AccuWeather, was tabbed by Trump on Wednesday to lead NOAA, the agency that oversees the National Weather Service, conducts weather and climate research, and monitors U.S. coast lines. His pick is a departure from previous NOAA nominees, who tend to come from scientific backgrounds, but in keeping with Trump’s preference for candidates from the business world.

Myers’ nomination is controversial to some: As The Washington Post reports, his role as head of a private business that uses National Weather Service data has inspired conflict of interest concerns, both among ex-NOAA staffers and the NWS employee union, which released a statement arguing that Myers would “be in a position to fundamentally alter the nature of weather services that NOAA provides the nation, to the benefit of his family-owned business.”

The nomination was greeted more warmly by the Weather Coalition, an advocacy group of which both AccuWeather and the Penn State Department of Meteorology are members. A Weather Coalition spokesman said Myers “brings a strong track record in growing one of the most successful companies in the weather industry.”

Ryan Jones, deputy editor

 

October 12, 2017 at 11:08 am 1 comment

Keep the Lots Clean

A note to Penn State football fans: If you’re going to tailgate on Saturday, or anytime this fall, don’t let this happen:

Those images come from the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, which has the important-but-unenviable task of cleaning up the tailgating lots around Beaver Stadium on Sundays. The issue? Too many tailgaters are putting the wrong items in the wrong bags during football weekends. The clear bags are meant for trash, while the blue bags are meant for recyclable materials—namely plastic, glass, and metal.

However, as Amy Schirf, the Authory’s education coordinator, told StateCollege.com, “Many of the blue bags designated for recycling will also contain food, liquid, diapers, bags of dog feces, purses, bags, plastic wrap.” And that’s only accounting for the stuff that makes it into bags in the first place.

This particular mess was left after Penn State football took down Georgia State.

So, a friendly reminder: Throw your trash away, and of course, make sure you’re always using the right bag.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

Conversations Around the Hijab

Photo via Savita Iyer

When Maha Marouan, associate professor of African-American Studies and Women’s Studies, was teaching at the University of Alabama, some of the Muslim female students on campus would come by her office to chat about what was going on in their lives. A number of them wore the Hijab, or head scarf, and they confided in Marouan that more often than not, the scarf invited a certain kind of negative scrutiny that made them feel unwelcome on campus.

Marouan documented the experiences of five of these students in a movie entitled “Voices of Muslim Women in the US South.” Produced by New York-based company Women Make Films, the half-hour documentary examines how Muslim women carve a space for self-expression and identity in a part of the country that often has unflattering views about Islam and Muslims. The United Nations Association of Centre County showed “Voices of Muslim Women in the US South” at Schlow Library on Tuesday, and invited Marouan to facilitate a discussion about her film.

Although the documentary was made in 2013, Marouan believes it is even more relevant today, when many Muslims across the U.S. and on campuses feel unwelcome, if not unsafe. It echoes some of what we heard from Muslim students at Penn State in our March/April 2016 cover story. The film is a good conversation starter, she said, to help counter the prevailing narrative around Muslims, Muslim women and the Hijab.

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September 25, 2017 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

The Family Business

Photo via Hoffman United

A pair of Penn State students are using their entrepreneurial spirit to try to revitalize their hometown.

Erie natives Paul and Christine Hoffman, sophomores who are two-thirds of a set of Penn State triplets, formed the group Hoffman United in 2014. As the duo told GoErie.com, Hoffman United is a real estate development, construction and property management company that seeks to help cities by “redeveloping areas to make long-lasting impacts.”

Namely, Hoffman United buys neglected real estate and renovates the buildings to turn them into apartment complexes. Paul, the company’s president (who got his start in business mowing neighbors’ lawns at age 12) and Christine, its vice president, purchased their first property in 2016, for $69,000, and plan to own more than 100 by the end of 2017.

Christie told Erie.com that her motivation in all of this is to help their local community. Paul echoed this sentiment, saying “We believe every neighborhood can be transformed.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 22, 2017 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

Fresh Memories of Vietnam

The annual Penn State Forum speaker series kicked off Wednesday with guest speaker Doug Bradley, a Vietnam vet turned professor and co-author of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War. Bradley talked about his experience and that of many of the vets he’s interviewed, played some of the classic songs of the era, and offered sometimes surprising context for how and why those songs so resonated with soldiers, both during and after the war.

Bradley’s appearance coincides with a flood of events and media, both nationally and at Penn State, marking 50 years since the height of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. WPSU is the driving force behind a multimedia project called A Time To Heal — The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story, a companion piece to the new Ken Burns documentary on PBS. The campus public broadcasting station is also sponsoring a visit by the Traveling Wall (pictured above), an 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The wall will be on display at University Park Oct. 5-8.

Ryan Jones, deputy editor

 

September 21, 2017 at 9:50 am 2 comments

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