Posts tagged ‘Christian Brady’

Inside Our July/August 2016 Issue

JA16_CoverThe countdown to Rio is here, and we have Olympic hopeful and cyclist Matt Baranoski on the cover of our July/August issue. Before he graduates from Smeal this December, he will try to medal in the fastest event at the Games, the kirin. Baranoski is just one of the many Penn Staters to compete on the grandest of stages: Learn about all of our elite athletes—past and present—starting on p. 27.

The magazine also includes a story about the Penn State Center for Sport Concussion and Research, where professor Semyon Slobounov and others are rethinking the diagnoses and treatment of brain injuries.

We also take a look at some of the most iconic Arts Fest posters from over the years. Created by graphic designer Lanny Sommese, the colorful collection—and the stories behind them—start on p. 44. (You’ll also get a sneak peek at the new 2016 poster.)

More from the issue: A tribute to Bryce Jordan, the university’s 14th president, who passed away in April; a farewell to Christian Brady, who is stepping down as dean for Schreyer Honors College; a recap of the women’s rugby national title; and a conversation with Taylor Guelich, who started her freshman year at age 15 and may just be the youngest student to ever enroll at Penn State.

We’d love to hear your feedback on the new issue—comment below or email us at

Amy Downey, senior editor

June 28, 2016 at 11:04 am 12 comments

All About the Goalies


Sunday was “Mack the Jeff” day at Jeffrey Field, the now annual men’s soccer game that doubles as a tribute to, and fundraiser in the memory of, Mack Brady. The son of Communications Arts & Sciences lecturer Elizabeth Brady and Schreyer Honors College dean Christian Brady, Mack was 8 when he died suddenly of a blood infection in December 2012. We’ve written previously about Mack, who was a huge soccer fan and aspiring goalkeeper, and this annual event remains a terrific thing.

This year’s Mack Brady Day provided a chance to honor the memory of another goalie lost too soon: Connor Darcey, the men’s lacrosse player who died in a car accident in June. The mood was brightened somewhat Sunday by a celebration of their memories, and by the result: A 1-0 Nittany Lion victory over 10th-ranked Indiana. The result wouldn’t have held if not for a first-half penalty save by senior goalkeeper Matt Bersano, captured above by photographer John Cobes.

Inspired by Mack Brady’s memory, and by the scholarship fund that bears his name, the men’s soccer program has claimed the aspirational title “Goalkeeper U.” Both in the game and in the bigger picture, Bersano’s save couldn’t have been better timed.

Ryan Jones, senior editor


September 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm 1 comment

Weekend Sports Preview: “Mack the Jeff”

The 411 on Penn State’s weekend sports slate.

#MackTheJeff: Friday figures to be an emotional night at Jeffrey Field.


The men’s soccer team gets its first chance for a signature victory this season when it hosts No. 5 Cal at 7 p.m. But an even bigger draw is the chance to celebrate the life of Mack Brady. A huge soccer fan, talented young goalkeeper, and son of Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady, Mack died unexpectedly in December from a blood infection. He was just 8 years old.

I’ve got an 8-year-old son of my own, and I can only begin to appreciate such a tragic loss. But I know it’s been inspiring, and apparently a huge boost for the Brady family, to see how the Penn State soccer family has rallied in Mack’s memory. (more…)

September 13, 2013 at 11:31 am 2 comments

Mack’s Day of Kindness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASupport a local business. Share an inspiring quote. Tell someone a joke to brighten his/her day. Penn State students performed these small, yet meaningful, random acts of kindness Wednesday on what would have been John William McKenzie Brady’s ninth birthday. John, more commonly known as Mack, was Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady’s son, who died on New Year’s Eve from a rare blood infection.

Brady released a statement on New Year’s to inform others of the tragic event: “Words cannot begin to express the deep, wrenching sorrow that our family feels at the sudden and unexpected death of our boy. He contracted a blood infection on Sunday and by last night had returned to God. He was a special treasure, a true blessing sent from God.”

Following the release of the statement, the Schreyer Honors College Student Council organized “Mack’s Day of Kindness” for his birthday. “We had a lot of students come forward saying they wanted to do something and help,” said Erin Platz, president of the student council. “Even though the students did not know Mack at all—I did not know him either—we are very close to Dean Brady. He really makes an effort to get to know all of the students in the Honors College.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARandom acts of kindness were written on slips of paper and tacked on boards in Atherton and Simmons halls. Students were encouraged to pass by either hall and take a slip of paper to complete throughout the day. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)

At 5:30, students and faculty were invited back to the Atherton Hall lobby to write a message for the Brady family on luminaria bags, which were lit up by fake candles and placed in the Atherton courtyard. The Schreyer Honors College Student Council hopes to make “Mack’s Day of Kindness” an annual event to help the Brady family through what will be a difficult day.

The Schreyer Honors College Student Council created a Facebook event and the hashtag #MacksDayofKindness, which was used on Twitter throughout the day. One example from Twitter user Anthony Shelton: “Just thanked anonymously a great member of our @penn_state faculty for all that she’s done for our community. #WeAre #MacksDayofKindness.”


From left to right, Dean Brady, wife Elizabeth Brady and daughter Isabel Brady

Mack was a huge soccer fan, which led the Brady family to establish a scholarship in Mack’s honor. The scholarship will benefit a member of the Penn State men’s soccer team.

Brady, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Isabel, stopped by Atherton Hall during the event. They were grateful to all of the students in remembering their son and were touched by what the students made possible.

Kimberly Valarezo, intern

January 17, 2013 at 11:48 am 1 comment

An Unusual Honors Thesis—and a Fun Album

Here’s Vitullo in the studio for a different project.

Tim Vitullo loved his engineering classes. He wanted a job in the field. But when it came time to write his honors thesis, he just didn’t want to do one about civil engineering. That seemed, to him, like a step on the path to a master’s degree, which was not in his plans.

But he had something to fall back on—his music. And thanks to the Schreyer Honors College policy that allows students who enroll as freshmen to choose any field for their thesis topic (if they get permission from their department and can find an adviser), Vitullo ’12 Eng created a unique thesis.

He composed and performed a jazz album titled This is the Thing! You can listen to it here.

“I had the best of both worlds,” Vitullo said. “I dig Schreyer for letting me do this.”

Vitullo grew up doodling and wanting to build things. But he also began taking piano lessons—or, as he put it, “started down the rabbit hole”—in the second grade. He moved on to various band instruments and, by junior high, he’d added the guitar.

He’s played in various bands—mostly rock, at first—back home in suburban Pittsburgh and around State College. He’s currently in Pittsburgh,  looking for a full-time civil engineering job and “trying to find the right balance between engineering and music for me,” and playing rock, country, jazz, and blues … whatever he can find. He’s starting to think about another album, too.

I’ve been listening to This is the Thing! on and off since early May, when Christian Brady, dean of the Schreyer Honors College, tweeted out a link to it with this introduction: “Man, I cannot tell you how much better my day just got thanks to this EP.”

So I clicked, and the music saved me during a long day of copy editing. Vitullo composed in a a variety of jazz styles—the first track,”Cold Coffee,” is hard bop, and it’s followed by “Too Flat for Five” (modal), “Bossa Nueva” (Latin), “Minor Incident” (fusion), and “Plus Two Leslie” (ballad).

And here’s Vitullo on stage.

Vitullo had to turn in a written component, too, so you can click here to read a summary of the thesis and download a PDF. (All of the honors theses are open and available to the public; they’ve been online since 2010.) He discusses the artists who influenced his composition, his thoughts on American jazz and why today’s most popular albums were recorded decades ago, and a little bit about his process.

I figured the hardest part of the thesis would be, you know, actually composing the music. Turns out that while that wasn’t easy, Vitullo had a harder time actually getting the album recorded. He had to line up musicians and secure a studio and time to record—and that costs money. He eventually found musicians to play without pay, but of course that cut into practice time.

Vitullo noted in his thesis, “the sense of personal pride that these recordings and compositions instill in me is overwhelming. However, it would be interesting to hear the hypothetical recordings if a longer preparation and a larger budget were possible before the recording sessions occurred.”

I’m certainly no expert, but I think the album turned out great. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

July 11, 2012 at 8:36 am 1 comment

Are We Prepared for Cyberwarfare? Mary Beth Long Thinks Not

Mary Beth Long also spoke earlier this month at Indiana University.

Partway through her speech Thursday night, Mary Beth Long ’85 Com, the first woman assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, paused and half-smiled at the audience. “If you’re not worried that the world is a dangerous place,” she said. “Stay tuned.”

Long had just spent about 20 minutes talking about terrorism, including how Al Qaida has been making up for lost ground by gaining a stronger foothold in Pakistan. I was already worried. But then she launched into the issue of nuclear proliferation, making the case that there is no possible way that Iran is enriching uranium for solely peaceful uses. And she wrapped up with a warning that the U.S. is unprepared to respond to cyberattacks, noting that no one is sure what would happen if, say, hackers shut down the computer system at Three Mile Island.

It wasn’t exactly uplifting, but it was thought-provoking—and that was the goal. Long was giving the 15th annual Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture, an event in honor of a University Scholar who died in 1995. Speakers are supposed to exemplify “intellectual honesty, personal integrity, and joy in learning,” and Long qualified on every count.

Her talk was titled “Terrorism, Nukes, and Cyberwarfare: Are We Prepared?” and it made clear how complicated the issues are. In about an hour, she touched on some international history, some politics, some geography, some technology, and some some cultural differences. I can’t possibly do justice to everything, but here are some of the key points I went home thinking about:

— She talked a lot about Iran, and especially its ties to Hezbollah. “You hear a lot about the Taliban and Al Qaida, but Hezbollah, I believe, is one of the overlooked but most dangerous terrorist groups we need to look at right now.”

— Among the big challenges for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Long said, is needing to clear IEDs away from schools built by coalition forces. Yes, the insurgents are targeting schools. “They lay them during the lunch hour,” she said, to target students, teachers, and aid workers.

— She painted a vivid picture of the problems that enemies of the United States could cause by going after our computer systems. Electrical grids, wastewater treatment facilities, mass transit, ports—if their computer systems were compromised, chaos would ensue. The U.S. needs to do a better job, she says, of organizing information and preparing for such an attack.

Long, who left government in 2008 and is now a senior vice president at NeurallQ Goverment Services Inc., loosened up a little at the end, during the Q-and-A.

Asked for her role models, her first answer, which she labeled “a little flip,” was Wonder Woman. (She didn’t need to apologize; Wonder Woman has a great history as a role model.) She told a great story about wearing “Wonder Woman” bracelets to a meeting in the Situation Room at the White House, and how surprised she was when Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, recognized them. “You know what Wonder Woman bracelets are?” she asked.

The final question came from Christian Brady, dean of the Schreyer Honors College, who asked what the title would be of a movie of her life, and who would play the starting role. Long laughed and said that she and her staff had actually kicked around such questions, and there was only one answer: Angelina Jolie.

That got a big laugh, but as far as I know, Angelina hasn’t completed the CIA’s clandestine operations in dangerous areas course or paramilitary training, both of which Long has done, and she hasn’t won awards for her roles in covert action, as Long has. Sometimes, real life is just more compelling than the movies.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

March 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

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