Posts tagged ‘Tina Hay’

Waiting On The President

The view from the press area

So we’re camped out on the east end of the floor at Rec Hall, along with dozens of (or maybe a hundred?) media members, a few hundred invited guests, and about 3,000 additional folks in the stands. And while I can’t say for sure it’s the hottest ticket of the week on campus — “Weezyville” seems to be a pretty big deal — I can say the excitement level for a visit from the President of the United State is pretty high.

Barack Obama is scheduled to land at University Park Airport sometime after 11 this morning, after which he’ll tour a few campus labs (including, apparently, the engineering buildings that surround the Hintz Family Alumni Center, which explains why those of us in the Alumni Association aren’t allowed in our offices until this afternoon), and then head over to Rec Hall for a speech focused on energy innovation. The theme ties in with the “Winning the Future” mantra Obama introduced last week in his State of the Union address; Penn State earned the visit in large part due to its lead role in the Philadelphia Energy Innovation Hub, for which it recently received hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal funding.

It’s worth acknowledging that, for a lot of people in the old gym today (which by the way looks terrific after recent renovations), the specifics of Obama’s speech may be less compelling than the simple fact that the leader of the free world is on our campus. According to our friends in Public Information, Obama is the ninth U.S. president to visit Penn State, a run that started when Dwight Eisenhower dropped in for his brother Milton’s 1950 inauguration as University president. Obama of course, was on campus in 2008, when he was a senator campaigning for the job he now holds.

Our editor Tina Hay, senior editor Lori Shontz and I got here around 9 a.m. to go through security, although Tina, who doubles as our crack staff photographer, actually showed up at 4:45 to hold a spot for her camera equipment. Thank goodness for the wireless service in Rec Hall, as there’s otherwise not much to do until the president shows up (and it’s looking like he might be running late to boot). It looks like you’ll be able to watch his speech live on the Big Ten Network, and we’ll post again this afternoon to let you know how that goes.

Ryan Jones, senior editor


February 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

How DO They Get Those Pants So Clean? (VIDEO)

The Parting Shot in our March/April issue – which Alumni Association members should have in their mailboxes any day now —  features a shot of the Penn State offensive huddle during the Nittany Lions’ 19-17 win over LSU in the Capital One Bowl, where overuse and bad weather had turned the Citrus Bowl field into a mud bog. The result: State’s iconic blue-and-white uniforms were turned blue and gray.

And you think your laundry is a chore...

The picture also left us with a question: How on earth do they get those clean? Luckily, we knew where to get the answer.

(scroll down for video)

A few weeks back, our editor, Tina Hay, called Kirk Diehl ’96, ’05, the Nittany Lions’ facilities coordinator and the guy who, along with equipment manager Brad “Spider” Caldwell ’86, is responsible for maintaining Penn State’s pristine game-day appearance. (A quick aside about Kirk: We were classmates when he was a student manager for the team in the mid ’90s. I saw him walking off the field at the end of the ’95 Rose Bowl and yelled hello from the stands. He waved and threw me a pair of Nike football gloves. It wasn’t until we were back from winter break that I found out the gloves belonged to Ki-Jana Carter ’95. Yes, I still have them.)

Anyway… Kirk gave Tina a sense of how he and Spider got all those pants white enough to be worn again – which they will be, at the annual Blue White Game in April. On Tuesday, associate editor Amy Guyer and I headed over to the Lasch Building to see for ourselves. Kirk and Spider, working through piles of laundry from that morning’s 6 a.m. workout, were nice enough to host us and show us the very pants — now gleaming-white — that had soaked up all that mud in Florida. Kirk explains the pants’ long, smelly journey to cleanliness:

Why do they put so much time and effort into keeping those pants clean? Kirk told us that each pair costs $80 — that’s wholesale. Most schools will go through multiple pairs per player in a season. But, barring fabric damage that can’t be repaired (Spider’s wife, Karen Kessler ’90 Edu, serves as the team’s unofficial seamstress), each of the more than 100 players on the Nittany Lion roster will wear a single pair of game pants from the first game of the season through the following year’s Blue White Game. That’s a lot of money saved.

Of course, it also means a lot of time spent manning washing machines, especially after a game like this year’s mud bowl. Just how bad was it, Kirk?

Five loads of wash, in the team’s computerized, industrial-sized, 85-pound washers, just to get those pants clean. For this game, the focus was pretty exclusively mud, but grass, blood, and paint stains are another challenge for the guys. Spider later showed us the product they use to get out paint stains, particularly the blue that’s applied to the Beaver Stadium turf. As the company’s site confirms, the name of the product, PS-Blout, is an abbreviation of sorts for “Penn State blue-out.” Yup, our Lions have a detergent named after them.

One more thing: And the end there, it almost sounds like Kirk was asked if the team would considering wearing “Peter Pans” next season. I’m pretty sure he said “pewter pants.” Just so that’s clear.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm 3 comments

White House Nominates Paul Martin for NASA Post

Another day, another Penn Stater named a presidential appointee. The latest is Paul Martin ’82, currently Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Justice, who has just been nominated by President Obama for the post of Inspector General at NASA.

Martin majored in journalism at Penn State and then went on to get a law degree from Georgetown.

If this goes through, I’ve got a feeling Tina may get greedy and ask for a window seat on the next Space Shuttle.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 1, 2009 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Ed Begley Jr.!

Yes, today is actor and environmental activist Ed Begley’s 60th birthday. I’d normally have no reason to know that (or care), except for this unexpected Penn State connection: Ed Begley is helping Penn State’s Solar Decathlon team in its quest to win a national competition for creating the best “green” home.

According to this story on, Begley will be in Happy Valley next week as the invited guest of the University’s Solar Decathlon team. The team is set to host a going-away open house on Friday, Sept. 25, as the kick-off for the team’s trip to Washington D.C., where its “Natural Fusion” house will compete for national honors in October.

Our editor, Tina Hay, went up to the still-in-progress dwelling a few days ago and took some photos. Here’s a bit of perspective:

DSC_4281 sm house + sign

And here’s a couple of students working on the deck:

DSC_4302 sm deck work

If they’re looking for another deck to build after this is over, I’d be happy to offer them a project.

For more on Penn State’s Natural Fusion house, check this link — and this one, for details on their student club, Penn State Engineers for a Sustainable World.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm 1 comment

Thon Gets ANOTHER Great Plug

Stumbled across this shortly after Tina posted the THON mention in the NYT. NBC’s Today Show gives the dancers and organizers some terrific air time:

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Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 6, 2009 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Meena Bose on Obama’s Speech

A few weeks ago, I interviewed presidential historian Meena Bose ’90 for a piece in our next issue — she’s got a new book out, which our editor, Tina Hay, blogged about last month. Meena’s name came up yesterday, for obvious reasons, as we wondered about her take on President Obama’s speech. Wonder no more: She liked it, calling it “energetic” and “beautiful.” Not surprisingly, she also caught the speech’s factual error:

“Meena Bose, chairwoman of the Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra, said Obama erred in his inaugural address when he said 44 Americans have been sworn in as president. She said the number is actually 43, because Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms – making Cleveland the 22nd and 24th president.”

Details, details.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 21, 2009 at 10:59 am 1 comment

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