Posts tagged ‘Veterans’

Listening to the “Greatest Generation”

I caught this a few days late, but I thought this op-ed by Penn State College of Comm instructor Boaz Dvir was very much worth sharing. His piece, published last week in the Las Vegas Sun on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, highlights the lessons he learned from veterans while working on the PBS documentary A Wing and a Prayer. The full, hour-long documentary is available on YouTube, and you can check out a short trailer for the film below:

Dvir notes that every WWII anniversary now serves as “a reminder that that our days of gleaning wisdom directly from the Greatest Generation are numbered.” It’s a harsh truth that I know many of us can appreciate: My grandfather, who served as an Army Air Force ball turret gunner in B-17s over Germany, turns 90 this year. I try to treasure the chances I’ve had to talk to him about the war, and about life, and I’m glad for any reminder to do so.

Ryan Jones, senior editor


September 9, 2015 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

Penn State Saluted for Serving Vets

Another day, another ranking for Penn Staters to be proud of.

Especially on Veterans Day.

This one comes courtesy of U.S. News & World Report, which puts Penn State No. 1 in its new ranking of “Best Colleges for Veterans.” The nationwide survey lists 234 schools graded on everything from graduation rates and faculty resources to participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a federal initiative that makes college more affordable for vets. At a time when “saluting the vets” often seems more about words than actions, and when many veterans still struggle to find jobs on their return to civilian life, it’s encouraging to see the many tangible ways Penn State works to give current and former military members a chance to succeed.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm 3 comments

Honoring Lt. Michael Murphy, Medal of Honor Winner

For the members of the 2011 Senior Class Gift Committee, the process was just like every other year, planning and fundraising for months—until they sat down to lunch with the family of the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

They spent the afternoon reminiscing about Murphy’s time at Penn State: how he always got good grades, loved going to the Rathskeller, and was once chased by a squirrel on the Henderson Mall. They also talked about how Murphy ’98 was humble, how even as a student, he always put others ahead of himself.

He did the same thing as a Navy SEAL. He was killed in Afghanistan during a reconnaissance mission in 2005, but before he died, he exposed himself to the enemy to give his men time to get to safety. (Read more about his heroic efforts here.) He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration.

Murphy’s family opened up to the committee about their son after learning the forthcoming class gift, a Veterans Plaza, would be constructed near Old Main to honor Penn State veterans and their son, Penn State’s only Medal of Honor recipient. To many veterans and community members, a military memorial on Penn State’s campus was long overdue.

“Having the opportunity to sit down with his family and talk about Michael and his time at Penn State and what the gift would mean to his family—it was very touching,” says Geoff Halberstadt ’11, gift development chair for the Senior Class Gift Committee. “It was really rewarding to see how meaningful this gift was for not only their family, but also other Penn State families. The whole process was just remarkable.”

The committee raised more than $250,000 from students, alumni, and people in the State College community, the highest amount in class gift history.

“Seeing how many students felt a connection to this gift and were willing to give so much to make it one of the better gifts—that made it one of the most successful gifts in the history of the program,” says Ben Witt ’11, overall chairman for the committee.

Murphy, left, is Penn State’s only recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The committee got creative with fundraising for the plaza when they hosted the Warrior Games in 2011 with the Penn State Veterans Organization. The event was based on “The Murph,” which was the workout routine Murphy practiced: a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats, topped off with another one-mile run. “Half Murph” and “Mini Murph” versions of the workout were available for students to participate. Witt says it was one of their most successful events.

After many months of hard work, construction for the plaza, located off the northeast corner of Old Main, is almost complete. It will feature a circular walkway with a stone wall surrounding a representation of a warrior’s shield. With its central location on campus, Witt said the plaza is a convenient spot for students to relax, study or meet with friends.

From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Old Main patio, visitors, alumni, and students can learn more about the plaza and pay respects Murphy. Among the speakers at the dedication ceremony will be President Rodney Erickson, trustee and former Navy SEAL Capt. Ryan McCombie ’70, university archivist Jackie Esposito; and Lt. Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy. Seating is limited, but all are welcome.

Erika Spicer, intern

September 13, 2012 at 10:43 am 3 comments

Two More Reasons Why Saturday Could Be Special

If you pay the least bit of attention to Penn State football, you know that Joe Paterno could win his 400th game as head coach Saturday afternoon. Lots of stories have been written this week about the potential milestone, and we’ve linked to a few of these on our Facebook page, but there’s one more that I think is worth sharing: This piece by David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News offering perspective on why Joe’s 400th is a mark unlikely to be reached by any other college coach.

Win or lose Saturday, the game against Northwestern will be memorable for a group of veterans and staff members from the Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona. It seems an anonymous donor is providing the group with 41 game tickets and a catered tailgate, all as a thank-you to the vets and those who help them. That’s just awesome.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

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