Rudy Glocker | It’s not about the statue

April 9, 2014 

“We need vibrant, aggressive, brilliant teachers and scholars. ... We need to give them the resources to grow and the freedom to challenge some of the old ideas and old conceptions. ... I’m only anxious to get on with some other things to make it even bigger and better, not in a sense of size, but in the context of quality and influence in this country.”

Joe Paterno

It is not about the statue.

It is about the truth. It is about our reputation, our integrity. It is about making Penn State the world’s leading university.

There are many candidates and people who are talking about Joe Paterno’s statue. When is it going to be put back by the stadium? If it does not go back by the stadium, where will they put it?

Honoring Paterno is about so much more than a statue.

Honoring Paterno is about the relentless pursuit of excellence in everything Penn State does and in everything we do as Penn State graduates.

It is breaking down the barriers that confront you, striving for excellence, never quitting and continuous improvement. It is about guts, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Penn State is at a unique point in its history. We have the students, the faculty, the alumni, the visibility and the cutting-edge research and infrastructure to lead an evolution of higher education.

We are: ranked No. 30 in the world among universities; the leading online degree-granting program (World Campus); No. 1 with recruiters; Thon; a top-20 research and development university; a leader in Fulbright scholars.

These are great achievements, and my thanks and appreciation go to everyone who helped make them possible. We can, and must, do better.

The world is growing more competitive every day. Higher education will change more in the next five years than it did in the past 50. We need to rise to meet this challenge and take advantage of the opportunity it provides.

We do not have the luxury of time.

We need to take action immediately to: invest in our top academic programs; ensure World Campus can scale rapidly with exceptional quality; increase scholarship aid for top students; recruit leading faculty and researchers; and create a culture of innovation and risk-taking.

Putting up a statue is easy.

Living up to the standards that statue embodies — now, that is a challenge — and one I welcome.

Join me in this challenge.

Together we can make Penn State the world’s leading university.

Rudy Glocker, of Henderson, Nev., is managing partner at Pediped footwear, one of the world’s leading children’s footwear companies, and an alumni candidate for the Penn State board of trustees. Readers may write to him at rglockerbot2014@gmail.com.

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