Letter to the Editor | Rethink the rebranding

December 17, 2013 

For 50 years my wife and I have been proud Penn Staters. Our immediate family includes five other alumni.

Over the years, we have often returned to State College and always enjoy retracing the familiar paths we walked, up the mall, past Old Main, over to the HUB, the Creamery, library, Rec Hall, the Lion Shrine.

There has always been something comforting in knowing that each of us experienced the same sense of timelessness and stability. Dear Old State has always been a refuge from the commercial hustle of fast-food strips and shopping malls.

Today, that refuge has been defaced with billboard-sized banners proclaiming “Penn State Lives Here.”

Aside from the redundancy of the message, the medium itself changes the very nature of the setting.

The Penn State I know and love doesn’t live where advertising slogans dominate the landscape. Have we become that crass and tacky? Have we become so desperate to sell ourselves that we have to hang banners from our buildings?

If this is the “rebranding” that has cost more than $800,000 so far and supposedly is aimed at students, prospective students and alumni, I am offended rather than impressed.

The university should take the banners down now and rethink this flawed strategy.

Gary Levitt

Delray Beach, Fla.

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