Letters: May / June 2022
LIAS spread -- photo of women in library

Funny Line

I’m referring to the last line on page 62 [“The Library of the Future,” March/April] in the article about LIAS: “Just don’t try logging on with your phone.” At the time LIAS was installed, I lived in College Heights and walked to campus. When LIAS became available via dial-up, I immediately installed a modem on my home computer. I remember working from home and needing something from Pattee, dialing in to LIAS, checking availability, and then walking to Pattee to get it. Later, when I enclosed my front porch and made it my office, I installed a second phone line just for the modem.

Unrelated ... in my retirement during a visit to Hazleton from New Mexico, I went to Highacres to get my laptop set up. When I told my tech person my user ID, bx2, he exclaimed: “Wow, you are old.” And I was only in my 60s then!
R. Thomas Berner ’71 Lib, ’74 MA Com 
Bellefonte, Pa.

Jan/Feb 2022 coverCelebrating THON

Congratulations to Robyn Passante and contributors on a beautifully written history of THON [“50 Years of THON,” Jan/Feb., p. 34]. I was a DJ for Larry Moore Productions and played music at THON during the early ’90s White Building years. While the experience was certainly memorable, we got to relive it in the days and weeks afterward playing gigs and having to clean all the baby powder out of the equipment and music cases. Man, that stuff literally got everywhere.
Andrew Kauffman ’96 Eng
Selinsgrove, Pa.

Your feature on THON was outstanding!  When I was in the audience in the White Building in the 1970s, I never imagined that I would one day help run Mini-THON at the middle school where I taught! From the history, through the challenges, to the connection with families, you’ve managed to capture all the facets of THON and get right to its heart. “May our lives but swell thy fame.”
Jan Cauffiel Zinn ’78 H&HD, ’78 Sci
Hanover, Pa.

This was the absolute best article I have ever read in the Penn Stater. THON started after my Penn State years, and I thought of it as just a fun fraternity event, never realizing what it is. I read the entire lengthy article, a great history that was most inspirational for me to learn what students can do and are doing. Concurrently, I received a THON newsletter from my fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma, introducing one of their dancers, providing a THON child profile and a donor spotlight. These young adults at Penn State are making such a difference. Thanks to the Penn Stater article and my fraternity, I am now and will continue to be a THON donor. Dance! Change the world! We Are!
Dave Curry ’64 Sci
Alexandria, La.

I was a dancer in THON 2022, and all I can say is the “THON at Fifty” story saved me. It was just what I needed in a low, low moment. I saw the issue at my aunt’s house in State College back in January when I was doing laundry there, and I took pictures of every page of the story for inspiration during “the 46.” Then I saw dancers were given this special issue in the backpacks they gave us. Absolutely incredible! I am eternally grateful for this community, and I wanted to forward a bit of that gratitude to you who put this together. So, thank you. We Are and FTK forever.
Alden Evans Iaconis
University Park

Shared Service

In 1989, three years after graduating with a degree in administration of justice and a commission in the United States Marine Corps, I found myself at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., attending the Navy’s 2nd Class Diver’s Course, commonly known as SCUBA School. Recently assigned to a Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance unit, I was anxious to start training before taking command of an operational unit. Ten days into the five-week training, however, I received the terrible news that a close friend and fellow Penn State Marine, 2nd Lt. Darren Bell, had been killed in a helicopter crash in Korea along with most of his infantry platoon. His wife asked that I serve as the military escort for Darren’s remains from the West Coast to Arlington National Cemetery, where he would be interred. Although honored, I just couldn’t leave of my own accord: SCUBA School quotas were not easy to obtain, my spot in the current course would go unfilled, and it might be months until my command could get me back on track to continue the training cycle.

After contacting my commanding officer at Camp Pendleton, I was asked to approach the officer in charge of the dive school, a lieutenant commander, to ascertain my options. After listening to my story he informed me that he, too, was a Penn State graduate, that I should honor my friend’s wife’s request, and that, upon completion of escort duties, I should return to Coronado, and he would figure out a way for me to resume training. It was unorthodox, but it worked; his staff cut me orders to travel to a naval base in San Francisco, where Darren’s remains would come from Korea, and then on to Washington, D.C., where Darren was laid to rest in the presence of many other Penn State Marines, their spouses, and families. A week later, back in Coronado, the lieutenant commander slid me into the first phase of a Navy hard-hat diver’s course, which was identical to my original SCUBA course. I was the only Marine and only officer; and I “graduated” three weeks later when they went on to the next phase of instruction.

I still have the small chrome diver insignia that I proudly wore on my uniform for the next seven years. I don’t remember that lieutenant commander’s name, but if he’s reading this, I hope he’ll know that his actions to navigate Navy and Marine Corps bureaucracy on my behalf to allow me to take my friend home were greatly appreciated—a tribute to the camaraderie shared between the services, and among Penn Staters.
Semper Fidelis.
Robert Jones ’86 H&HD
Venetia, Pa.


Send letters to: The Penn Stater magazine, Letters, Hintz Family Alumni Center, University Park, PA 16802; fax: 814-863-5690; or by email to heypennstater@psu.edu. Letters should be a maximum of 250 words and may be edited for length and clarity. Please include an address and daytime phone number.