Penn State has been in the news a lot the past 9 months or so.
I spent 2 years up in State College working with the Penn State men’s soccer program and in the entire time I was there, like most people at PSU, I had very limited contact with the football program. I did go to one football game in my two years there (I left at half time because there were too many people there for my liking).
I have no desire to write about Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier or any of the other people who may or may not have been involved in the terrible behavior and decisions that were made over the past 14 years. It’s a tragedy that should never have happened but it’s such a small part of what Penn State is about, it’s unfair to demonize a great institution based on the behavior of a few.
Most of the students I encountered at PSU were first rate students. They chose the school because of it’s academic reputation, it’s beautiful campus, it’s top notch professors, the great researchers and yes, the outstanding athletic program.
It’s easy to hear Penn State athletics and immediately assume football. The reality is, there is so much more than that. 19 current or former members of the PSU athletic department will be participating in the 2012 Olympic game. The men’s and women’s volleyball teams are national contenders every year (and in recent years, more often than not, one of them is a national champion). Fencing is a national powerhouse each year. Track and Field has some top notch competitors each year as do many of the other sports.
Some of the research being done at PSU include things such as getting a better understanding of the copying mechanism of viruses, the development of a chip that can produce three dimensional of a stream of cells to help rapidly screen cells for leukemia or HIV, better safety in farming, underground solutions to greenhouse gas challenges and much, much more
Every year THON, which is the largest student run philanthropic organization in the world, raises millions of dollars for the fight against pediatric cancer.
There is much more I can write about the positives of Penn State, unfortunately, the negatives that have been in the news recently have overshadowed these positives. My point isn’t that we should ignore the terrible actions that took place but rather, we should learn from them, prevent them from happening again and allow all of the other wonderful things have are happening at Penn State to continue.
I was proud to have been at Penn State…I still am.
Have a great day!
PS One last thing, if you are ever up in the State College area, don’t miss the opportunity to go to the Penn State Creamery for Ice Cream, Sherbet and cheeses