The win against Ohio State certainly was a great win for Penn State football, but for the 750,000 alumni, students and the community of State College who have experienced much in the past four years, I believe it reflects far more then a football win.
A little more than four years ago the tranquil community tucked into a valley and surrounded by the mountains of central Pennsylvania, was anything but tranquil. The events surrounding the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case shook this community to its core.
These shocking events changed the collective consciousness of an entire community in ways that none of us to this day fully understand. Many of us had moments of sadness, sometimes anger, and often didn’t want to think about it at all.
It was obvious that something egregious happened in our beloved college town, seemingly out of nowhere. As a community we shared the sorrow and anguish for the young boys who were victimized by Sandusky, and ignored by others. And the events of the past four years continually reminded us that as a community we should never forget; nor did we.
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Yet, so many in our community of alumni, current students, and residents of State College realized that if we moved forward together with a shared purpose and common ideals, the very ideals that have long characterized this community for decades, we would emerge stronger than ever.
And I believe that is what has happened. There was much infighting within the Penn State community and at times many of us wondered if the spirit would ever return. But many of us understood what our community and university was truly about and stayed the path to plan and shape a better future.
In 2012, “Together We Are One” was formed and was both a call to action and an invitation to the entire nation to hear our story and visit our community and campus, a town and university filled with natural beauty and wonderful people.
Thus as others tried to define who we were, the events of the past four years in the end defined the future for our community and town, a future that always has been and I believe will continue to be based on our strong principles and sense of community.
I am honored to have been a part of this journey we have all taken and will continue to take. We discovered then and are discovering now that together as one, we can define the future.
So let us enjoy an incredible football win but celebrate something far more important. Let us celebrate our indomitable spirit, our shared purpose and our common ideals that have allowed us to emerge stronger than ever.
We are and will always be Penn State.
David L. Nevins is president of Nevins Real Estate Management in State College, and serves as a society fellow at the Aspen Institute and is president and founder of the Bridge Alliance (BridgeAlliance.us).