The article “Pride & Purpose” [July/August, p. 36] did very well in describing who Neeli Bendapudi is. I had the fortune and pleasure to meet her at my place of employment soon after she became president. The description in the article from Nina Jablonski that she “connects in a meaningful way, it’s sincere” couldn’t be more accurate. She joyfully met with a group of Penn State alumni in our company and asked each of them their story. She was engaging, funny, and made a point of saying, as the article stated, that her focus is on the students. Penn State is in good hands with Neeli Bendapudi.
Mike Shive ’87 Bus
I loved the article introducing Neeli Bendapudi. Like me, she is a mom, and family is very important to her. The fact that she would not have made the move unless her family was “all in” really impressed me! The fact that she is a middle-aged woman taking on this challenge also struck a chord with me: As a 40-year-old mom with teenage children, I went back to college in the early ’90s. Secondly, she recognizes that satellite campuses are an important component to Penn State and that “96% of the citizens of the commonwealth live within 30 miles of a Penn State campus.” Because of this, I was able to continue work as an RN, keep my children in their local high school, and graduate from Shenango campus in 1994 with a nursing degree. As Neeli pointed out, all degrees say “Penn State!”
Now, I am semiretired and still working weekends as a case manager at a local hospital in Florida. As I have discovered, there are plenty of Penn State alumni and fans down here! Since moving here seven years ago, I have attended three bowl games and add my voice saying, “We Are!” And I add my voice in saying, “Welcome Dr. Bendapudi!”
Sharon Landis ’94 Nur
I enjoyed learning about my alma mater’s new president. The author, Erin Strout, was on target with her writing. My questions about the new president’s personal and professional history were answered and more. Well done.
Kay Shanahan ’70 Lib
How did your article on social media stars [“Screen Time,” July/August, p. 54] miss @theaidanjames? Not only is he one of the most recognizable Penn State TikTokers with over 700,000 subscribers, but he does it with style and a sweet guitar! This University Park senior engages people of all cultures with music and famously “snuck on stage” with Penn State’s most popular band! We Are …
Joe Berger ’89 Bus
Reading the article on NASCAR [“The Need for Speed,” July/August, p. 44], I couldn’t help looking at the parallels of my experiences with those of John Probst. I spent my early years dreaming of working for a car manufacturer or race team. At Penn State, I was involved with the student chapter of SAE. In 1994, I answered an ad looking for a mechanical design engineer for Broadcast Sports Technology, a small company that provided customized cameras and technology to the TV industry; its onboard cameras revolutionized coverage of auto racing. Our services were used during the 1996 Olympics. This system also revolutionized PGA golf coverage. NASA came one day and asked us to build a wireless video system that astronauts use during spacewalks. While I was there, the TV industry changed from analog to digital to HDTV, requiring adoption of all these new technologies. It is good to see behind the scenes again.
Brian Foreman ’86 Eng
It was gratifying to see the informative In Memoriam piece on my dear late friend Steven Herb in the July/August issue [p. 81]. But I was mildly surprised you didn’t mention another of his noteworthy accomplishments, his co-authoring The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. Aside from his sizable contributions to the literary education of children, he could also tell a good story to adults, while showcasing his devotion to Penn State in the process.
John Worobey, ’77 MS ’80 PhD H&HD
New Brunswick, N.J.
I was elated to read that caves still have those tight spots, mud, and water that we squeezed through back in the early 1950s [“Down We Go,” May/June, p. 36]. It so happens that I was the editor of the mimeographed Nittany Grotto Newsletter. Way before smartphone technology, I used an inexpensive Kodak Duo-Flex “box camera” that produced many excellent photographs—two of which were chosen by Life magazine for publication.
Second, while not in the classroom or crawling in caves, I worked for meals in the University Club kitchen for a couple of years [“This Old House,” May/June, p. 7]. I went from an entry-level dishwasher position to that of “morning cook.” I learned skills that I use to this day and gained many fond experiences in that building at the edge of campus. Thanks for the memories!
Jim Walczak ’55 EMS
I enjoyed reading the roommate stories in the May/June issue [“The Best of Friends,” p. 44]. I decided my story might be worth telling. Lois Tinsley and I started at Penn State in 1944; although she lives in Monroe, Ga., and I live in Meadville, Pa., we talk often about our happy years at State. Lois and I had just graduated from Allentown High School.
Lois and I started our college years at the Nittany Co-operative house on Nittany Avenue. This was a unique setup, since boys and girls not only did kitchen work and household chores together, but also ate their meals and enjoyed free time together. Girls shared rooms at this large three-story brick house while the boys found rooms to rent. Our much-loved cook, Mac, was the mentor and mother to about 50 co-op girls and boys.
The fall of 1946 brought many returning servicemen back to Penn State. To the co-op came two tall, handsome Air Force navigators, Bill Frankhouser and Hank Weymer. Lois and Bill started dating, and then Hank and I became a twosome. Hank and I married in 1947, and while he worked on his master’s degree, I finished one term and graduated with my dear friend Lois in 1948. Please continue to keep all of us connected.
Peg McKnight Weymer ’48 H&HD
Before COVID-19, I was thrilled to see my Holiday Cards 4 Our Military Challenge listed in the Penn Stater. I heard from classmates that I have lost touch with and new supporters, both individuals and businesses. Since then, the Challenge has gone international; we send cards to troops, veterans, and military families, even military working dogs. Other initiatives serve homeless veterans, National Guard members who helped with vaccine rollouts, and cards of care for displaced Ukrainian families and their military spouses still back home. Penn State alumni from all 50 states have joined in.
Laura Landerman-Garber ’77 Lib, ’87 PhD Edu
In the article “Changing Times” on p. 20 of our July/August issue, we neglected to include graduate information for Lee Anne Jeffries ’93 A&A. We regret the error.