Posts tagged ‘Penn State Football’

Inside Our July/August 2017 Issue

When Harry Swimmer ’51 started a therapeutic horse riding program for special needs children at his North Carolina farm 23 years ago, the staff consisted of, essentially, just him and his horses. There was one rider, a 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. He didn’t charge a dime. Today, there are some 200 volunteers, 69 riders, and 26 horses on Swimmer’s 83-acre Misty Meadows farm. And to this day, he has never charged any money for the services.

That altruistic approach to service earned him recognition as one of CNN’s Heroes in a ceremony last year, and landed him on the cover this month’s issue of The Penn Stater, arriving in mailboxes soon. In “A Farm Full of Hope,” we visit Misty Meadows to see how Swimmer has kept up with the needs of the kids and the community, as well as his reaction to the CNN tribute.

The new issue also gives you a look into how last year’s Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl berth turned many skeptics into believers of James Franklin and his approach to building the football program, in a profile called “Unite and Conquer.” Additionally, we talk to retiring American Studies professor Simon Bronner, whose office is filled with items from the cultures and communities he has studied in “A Folklorist at Work.”

Plus we’ll tell you what the $30 million gift from Hollywood producer Donald P. Bellisario ’51 means for the College of Communications, take you inside a class that looks at the stereotypes of “good” vs. “bad” moms in literature, and look back at a historic Big Ten championship for men’s track and field.

What do you think about the new issue? Let us know by commenting below or emailing us at heypennstater@psu.edu.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

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June 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Inside Our March/April 2017 Issue

ma17_coverGot a case of the winter blahs? Blue-White weekend can’t get here fast enough? Our latest issue might just have the cure for what ails you: Saquon Barkley coming right off the cover! Our March/April 2017 issue features a look back at an incredible season of Nittany Lion football highlighted by comebacks, big plays, and big players—like Barkley—who took fans on a wild ride to the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl. The photo spread begins on p. 26.

The new issue, arriving in mailboxes soon, also features comics, but it’s probably not what you think. In “Truth Between the Lines” (p. 37), we take you into the classroom at Penn State Hershey, where fourth-year med students reflect on the experience of becoming a doctor through an unusual practice—writing and drawing their own graphic narratives. You’ll find some of their work on our pages, too.

And you’ll get a glimpse into the life of Gary Eberle ’67, who turned a passion for wine into his life’s work, only to have his thriving California winery snatched away—before ultimately getting it back. “The Boar Endures” (p. 44) is a story of perseverance and the importance of savoring success.

More from the issue: a profile on Alex Patin, a Penn State junior who has developed a set of headphones that can read brainwaves to create playlists that match your mood; and John Hanrahan ’91, an All-American wrestler during the 1980s who’s still at it today—and recently won a world championship.

What do you think about the new issue? Let us know by commenting below or emailing us at heypennstater@psu.edu.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

February 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

Flying High in Pasadena

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Prior to Penn State taking on USC in the Rose Bowl, a B-2 bomber flew over the stadium while the Blue Band played the National Anthem. The common thread: the man piloting the bomber was a Penn Stater.

The pilot—who asked that we not share his name for security reasons—attended Penn State for two years before deciding to join the Air Force. He comes from a family of Nittany Lions, and when describing the experience of the flyover, called it “a true honor and a dream come true.”

Several pictures were taken by the boom operator who refueled the plane, and as you can see in the photos above, the pilot made sure his alma mater was represented during his flight. You can watch a clip of both the Blue Band’s performance and the flyover below.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Inside Our January/February 2017 Issue

jf17_cover_blogLook for a welcome pop of color inside your mailboxes soon: You won’t be able to miss the striking aracari named Beatrice gracing the cover of our Jan./Feb. issue. This toucan is just one of the magnificent models featured in “Critter Close-Ups.” Michael Faix, a wildlife photographer and staffer at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, shares his pictures and the stories behind them starting on p. 42.

In “Learning in the Dirt” (p. 24), Dana DiFilippo ’92 discovers the Penn State students who are managing their own working farm on campus. (It turns out that they’re learning as much about themselves as they are about growing food.) Also in the issue, we take a look at the profound legacy of the Craighead family, which includes two leading conservationists and a bestselling author, in “Three of a Kind.”

We also asked readers for memories of getting mail at college and received dozens of great responses. Whether it was a sweet surprise, like mom’s baked-from-scratch cookies, or a love letter in a long-distance relationship—we learned that, years after opening these envelopes and packages, they still remain some of your most special deliveries. Start reading the letters on p. 32.

More from the issue: a profile on Kaia, the adorable golden retriever puppy who is making her mark as a full-time employee at Hershey; a story about Nike CEO Mark Parker ’77; and a recap of the amazing season for the 2016 Nittany Lion football team.

What do you think about the new issue? Let us know by commenting below or emailing us at heypennstater@psu.edu.

Amy Downey, senior editor

December 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm 4 comments

Saquon Barkley is Awestruck, Humble, and Not a Big Fan of Hurdling People

Photo via Mark Selders

Photo via Mark Selders

On May 5, NFL.com released its list of the 100 best players in college football. Saquon Barkley had no idea he was on this list, let alone that he was so high.

The author of the post said that Barkley was the No. 54 player in all of college football. He believes that only four running backs are better than Penn State’s dynamic sophomore, and all of them are likely headed to the NFL after the 2016 season. While a lot of these lists come out during the offseason, this one had Barkley higher than most.

Upon learning about this, Barkley’s reaction was twofold. At first, he expressed amazement that he was ranked so high.

It’s sometimes easy to forget this because Barkley was so good in his one year in the blue and white, but he’s still a teenager. While he carries himself with the confidence of a veteran, Barkley is still a young athlete who spent part of his freshman year in awe of how cool life is for a college football player.

An example: Penn State played Ohio State in Columbus last year. Barkley went up against some of the best players in America, like former Buckeyes quarterback/wide receiver Braxton Miller, whom Barkley used in video games when he was younger. He even went up against his favorite player in college football in ex-Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who called Barkley “the Truth” after the game. (Barkley outrushed Elliott, 194 yards to 153.)

“It was kind of a surreal moment,” Barkley said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going against future NFL players, these guys are legit.’ But they’re saying that I’m good, too. I can be on that level one day. It was just a surreal moment, something I’ll never forget.”

Even Barkley’s decision to attend Penn State was based partly on the fact that this place blew him away. Barkley is a native of The Bronx and grew up a fan of Rutgers, the school that he committed to when he was a sophomore.

But then Barkley visited Penn State in the fall of 2013. Then-coach Bill O’Brien – who made Barkley feel “starstruck” due to his ties to the NFL – hosted the high school junior for the Nittany Lions’ four overtime victory over Michigan, which left a lasting impact.

After James Franklin was hired, Penn State amped up its pursuit, and on February 19, 2014, Barkley flipped his commitment. In addition to his desire to play football in Happy Valley, he cited the caliber of education at Penn State – something that Franklin discussed extensively with Barkley’s family – as a big reason why he flipped.

Barkley spent the next few months tearing up high school football in Pennsylvania before arriving in State College and establishing himself as a star in the making. He managed to stay out of the spotlight and let his play define him, which leads us to the second part of Barkley’s reaction to NFL.com’s list.

While Barkley did mention that he wants to eventually earn the title of the best running back in America, he’s really good at tuning out all the noise and ignoring the attention that has come his way over the last year or so.

Photo via Mark Selders

Photo via Mark Selders

For example, you know how he has a propensity to hurdle opponents who try to go low on him, which leads to some incredible highlights? As it turns out, he doesn’t like doing that, and wanted to stop hurdling defenders once he got to college.

“Everyone thinks it’s cool,” Barkley said. “But, like, me and especially my mom, my mom doesn’t like it at all. You just put yourself at risk.”

Even the attention that came Barkley’s way after he gave a gold medal that he won to another athlete during a high school track meet somewhat rubbed him the wrong way. He viewed it as a simple act of kindness – “No one was supposed to know,” Barkley said – and he isn’t a huge a fan of the media attention or the people who were skeptical about his motives for giving away the medal.

But still, there is a ton of preseason hype heading into 2016, and Barkley is primed to back it all up. This offseason was the first time that he spent an entire spring/summer in a college strength and conditioning program. He’s in new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s running back-friendly system – in Moorhead’s four years at Fordham, the team’s featured back averaged about 1,717 yards and 16 touchdowns.

But most importantly, Barkley has an inherent drive to improve. His goals in 2016 revolve around becoming a better player, leader, and teammate.

One of those goals is to “run the ball better.” Because even though he’s the best running back in the Big Ten, there’s always room to improve.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 29, 2016 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

John Urschel Heads Back to School

John Urschel does the math for ESPN The Magazine. Photo by Gregg Segal/ESPN.

Photo by Gregg Segal/ESPN.

It’s been a while since we’ve written about John Urschel ’12, ’13g, the former Penn State offensive lineman who doubled as a standout student in mathematics. Urschel’s latest endeavor–when he’s not playing for the Baltimore Ravens–is pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.

Urschel explained his decision to continue his education in a piece for The Players’ Tribune. The truncated version is that his mother wanted him to go to MIT as an undergrad, but Urschel’s desire to attend Penn State won out.

As for managing to stay in shape while also making time for schoolwork, don’t worry: Urschel trains with the school’s football team, which he credits with helping him remember that football should feel like a game instead of a job.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 26, 2016 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

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