Posts tagged ‘Michael Weinreb’

Inside Our January/February Issue

The turn of the calendar always brings some changes, and the Penn Stater is no exception. When you get our January/February issue, you’ll notice the difference right away, with a smaller page size, new binding, and a new font for our tighter magazine name (notice the missing “The” in “Penn Stater”). You’ll also see a beefed up and, we hope, livelier “Pulse” section, and some big photography spreads. The changes in formatting and content extend throughout the magazine, but we hope that the quality of writing and the selection of articles is everything you’ve come to expect from the Penn Stater magazine. Let us know what you think of the changes at

As far as what you’ll find in the issue, the cover story details the complicated legacy of Harry Anslinger. Although you may have never heard of his name, his imprint on 20th century American culture is hard to mistake. Anslinger 1915 was the first head of the forerunner to today’s Drug Enforcement Administration, the father of the drug war who battled cannabis culture and also took on organized crime. Michael Weinreb ’94 details his story.

Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll find tales of love on campus. We asked for your stories of how it happened for you while you were here and what we got back were tales that were heartwarming, tender, funny, sweet, happy, and sad. And you’ll hear from Steven Levy ’74g, one of the nation’s top tech journalists, who discusses the promises—and perils—of today’s internet world.

You’ll also find out why there’s an air traffic control tower (or not) atop Deike Building, get the original story of the iconic Comic Swap store downtown, and learn what former Nittany Lion basketball star Calvin Booth ’98 is up to in the NBA.

Our Jan./Feb. 2018 issue should be arriving in mailboxes soon. Let us know what you think at

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

December 21, 2017 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

The Story Behind the ‘We Are’ Statue

ESPN released a video today about the phrase “We Are Penn State.” More specifically, the video is about its origins and how it inspired the We Are statue on campus that was given as the class of 2013’s gift.

It’s narrated by Keegan-Michael Key ’96g and includes interviews with Wally Triplett ’49, Morgan Delaware ’13, and Jonathan Cramer ’94, among others. Delaware was the 2013 class gift committee chair, while Cramer was the statue’s sculptor.

The video starts by recalling the events of November 2011, and their impact on Penn State pride. Cramer then talks about his desire to enter a competition to build the statue. In the course of his research for the project, Cramer learned about the legend behind “We Are Penn State,” which we wrote about in 2009 (the author of our story, Michael Weinreb ’94, was also interviewed by ESPN). Cramer says he felt inspired and got to work on a statue that could “stand the test of time.”

Some argue that the story of Wally Triplett and the 1947 Penn State football team has no direct ties to the famous rallying cry—and that may well be true. But the ESPN video is still a great tribute to that team, and it provides the story behind the statue.

The video ends with a link to a website soliciting donations for help with Triplett’s health care. To watch the video, click on the image in the tweet at the top of this post.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm 3 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — April 11, 2014

A generous parting gift: President Rod Erickson and his wife Shari on Thursday announced a $1 million gift to the university. The donation, which coincides with this weekend’s celebration of the closing of the “For The Future” capital campaign, will benefit the Arboretum, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Smeal College of Business. Erickson is set to retire from the university next month.

Klosterman on ethics: I wandered over to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Thursday to hear Chuck Klosterman speak at the “Religion, Ethics, and Choice” symposium hosted by Penn State’s Center for Ethics & Religious Affairs. I met Chuck a decade or so ago through our mutual friend (and occasional Penn Stater contributor) Michael Weinreb ’94; if you know Chuck’s name, it’s probably from his books, his writing for the likes of Esquire and Grantland, or more recently, his role as the Ethicist for the New York Times Magazine. Based in Brooklyn, he generally makes a handful of college speaking engagements each year, but this was the first time he’d been invited somewhere specifically based on the Ethicist gig.

Speaking to a small room—a mix of students, faculty, and campus and community religious leaders—Chuck was, like his writing, often funny and always thought provoking. He read from his latest non-fiction book, I Wear the Black Hat, in which he uses real and fictional villains to grapple with the idea of good v. evil. But for this crowd, the insights into his Ethicist gig were especially interesting:

* He opened by saying he’s not remotely qualified for the job, then added that, in his opinion, “no one is.” (The Times‘ first Ethicist, he noted, was Randy Cohen, a former writer for David Letterman.)

* He was only half joking when he said that, due both to the nature of the job and the reactive tone of so much of modern culture, he’s certain “I’m going to get fired at some point.”

* He said he receives about 100 submissions each week, and that the correspondents are most likely to be “lawyers, new mothers, and academics. Also, a lot of atheists.”

* In helping people solve their ethical quandaries, Chuck says he aims to be “hyper-rational … almost Spock-like” in his responses: “I’ve advised people to do things I’m not sure I would do in my own life.” As for his process: Once he and his editor have chosen which letters to run, Chuck said he thinks about the dilemma, composes a response, and then “I spend two days thinking about all the ways I’d disagree with that response.” He then edits it accordingly. It’s a unique gig, and qualified or not, I think he’s as right as anyone for the job.

Football is back: The forecast calls for temperatures in the high 60s and blue (and white) skies—a perfect day, in other words, for the Blue-White Game. There’s all sorts of fun stuff scheduled in and around Beaver Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is at 1:30. Hope to see you there…

Ryan Jones, senior editor


April 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 3, 2014

Brrrrr: Good day from Happy Valley, where it was 5 degrees when I got up to shovel my driveway this morning. Then I got to work and saw these guys hanging out in front of the Hintz Family Alumni Center. Guess I shouldn’t complain about the cold.


Stay warm out there, people.

The search is on: Pretty much all the news today focuses on Bill O’Brien’s departure and the search for a new head football coach. The majority of coverage among media who actually cover the Nittany Lions has been understanding of O’Brien’s decision, even as they acknowledge why the manner of his leaving has upset some. On this, I like the perspective of my friend Michael Weinreb ’94, writing for Sports on Earth.

Elsewhere, ESPN has a roundup of Twitter reaction from current and former players, as well as some recruits, that’s interesting to peruse. One future Lion, defensive back Marcus Allen of Maryland, is already endearing himself to Penn State fans, per this post on Lions 247:

“I’ve come to realize over the past 48 hours that Penn State isn’t a person. It’s a spirit and an idea. It’s the fans and the players and the coaches and the people who live in State College. The feeling I get when I visit State College isn’t due to one person, but my experience with everyone I have come in contact with. I feel truly blessed and humbled to be mentioned in the same sentence with Penn State Football. Thank you all for accepting me into the PSU family. Coach Johnson has shown me through this that a team player works hard and stays the course through adversity. I’ve learned a new life lesson before I even stepped foot on campus. WE ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Coach Johnson: That’s Larry Johnson, of course, the Lions’ long-time defensive line coach, who has been named interim head coach. The program posted a video message from Johnson on Facebook, and while it’s not clear whether Johnson is a candidate for the full-time job, a number of former players are rooting loudly for him to be considered. Short-term, Johnson’s biggest task is keeping Penn State’s 2014 recruits committed to the program.

Good luck, ARob: Whoever the Lions’ next head coach is, they’ll be without one of the best receivers in program history. On Thursday, Allen Robinson announced he’d bypass his senior season to enter this year’s NFL draft. We’ll miss him, but look forward to seeing him make big plays on Sundays.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

A Freeh Report Reading List

Penn State Trustee Ken Frazier ’75 chaired the investigative task force that hired Louis Freeh.

As the Penn State community continues to reel from the release of the Freeh Report, the national media has been busy weighing in on the findings and the fallout. Following the coverage can be overwhelming, but here are some articles from the past four days that are worth a read:

Guides to the Freeh Report

“A Guide to the Penn State Investigation”: From The Chronicle of Higher Education, an annotated summary of the report’s most significant findings.

“Analysis: Freeh report sheds new light on Jerry Sandusky scandal, but needs context”: Sara Ganim ’08 breaks down the important revelations, and identifies some of the report’s shortcomings. “It’s not the whole picture,” she writes.

The Paterno Statue

“After Report, Calls to Remove Paterno Statue at Penn State”: From The New York Times’ “The Lede” blog, a collection of Facebook and Twitter comments calling for the removal of the Joe Paterno statue immediately after the report’s release.

“Penn State denies decision made on Joe Paterno statue”: An update on the future of the statue and other landmarks bearing Paterno’s name and image.

Paterno’s Legacy

“Joe Paterno, at the end, showed more interest in his legacy than Jerry Sandusky’s victims”: “Everything else about Paterno must now be questioned,” writes Sally Jenkins, the Washington Post reporter who interviewed Paterno before his death, in one of the harshest pieces out there.

Paterno Won Sweeter Deal Even as Scandal Played Out“: A New York Times report on Paterno’s retirement contract, which it says was worked out long before Paterno announced his retirement last Nov. 9.

“A Failed Experiment”: At, Michael Weinreb ’94 reflects on Penn State’s moral culture, concluding, “The Grand Experiment is a failure, and the entire laboratory is contaminated.”

NCAA and the Death Penalty

Amidst handfuls of articles weighing the pros and cons of the NCAA-imposed “death penalty” at Penn State, here is a take from each side: 

“Should Penn State Football Get the Death Penalty?”: Slate’s Josh Levin advocates for a temporary shutdown of Penn State football.

“In calls for justice at Penn State, NCAA death penalty would be injustice”: Columnist David Whitley takes the opposite stance: “When it comes to punishment, Penn State will have an unprecedented amount without the NCAA getting involved.”

Penn State Pride

“‘We Are Penn State’ and What That Means Today”: John Milewski ’79 on accountability as an alum.”For me, the burden of being Penn State includes taking responsibility for being part of the myth machine that brought us to where we are today.”

“I Went to Penn State—But Don’t Pity Me”: Vicki Glembocki ’93, ’02g on finding comfort—and pride—among fellow Penn Staters.

“Ashamed for Joe Paterno and Penn State’s leaders, but still proud of my school”: A strong alumni voice since November, LaVar Arrington ’00 believes supporting Penn State is the way to rebuild. “A big mistake would be making this all about loving or hating Paterno.”

What articles/links do you recommend? Share them in the comments below.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

July 17, 2012 at 8:21 am 7 comments

A Sandusky Scandal Reading List

I spent a little time Sunday afternoon trying to catch up on all of the media coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the University. I barely made a dent in the stack of articles I had printed, but so far, a few stand out as required reading.

1. “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The Harrisburg paper gets credit for being the first to report—last March 31—that a grand jury was investigating Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g. The story was written by Sara Ganim ’08.

2. “Who Knew What About Jerry Sandusky?” Sara Ganim again, this time in a special report this past Friday chronicling the allegations that stretch over a 10-year period—and the missed opportunities to do something about them.

The rest of the articles on the list are not reported news stories so much as essays reflecting on various aspects of this sorrowful mess:

3. “Growing Up Penn State.” An essay at the new sports site by Michael Weinreb ’94, who grew up in State College. He writes poignantly of how his ideals have been shattered, citing, for example, the 1987 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami:

It is still my favorite football game of all time, a metaphoric triumph of the unadorned hero over the flamboyant villain. I wrote a long piece about it for ESPN, and a portion of a book, that now rings completely hollow. I have the original video recording of it in my living room, and I have thought several times over the past couple of days about taking a hammer to it.

4. “A Test of Bonds Old and New.” Malcolm Moran was a longtime (more…)

November 14, 2011 at 9:48 am 13 comments

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