Timothy Magee called Penn State “home.”
The U.S. Army sergeant major attended seven colleges in his 28 years in active military duty, but said there’s no place like Penn State.
“It’s my home; it’s my alma mater,” he said. “There’s no place like it.”
Magee graduated this year with his master’s degree in adult education through Penn State’s World Campus as part of a yearlong fellowship through the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy.
He was one of 18 others in the first class to graduate from Penn State through the fellowship program.
The mission of the program is for instructors at the academy to earn graduate degrees in adult education before training future sergeant majors.
Magee, a Texas native, is back in his home state as an instructor at the academy in Fort Bliss, an Army installation in El Paso.
He’ll be an instructor there for three years.
But on Saturday, he was among about 10,000 members of the military and their families invited to participate in the Penn State Military Appreciation Day tailgate on Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
As part of Military Appreciation Day, 7,500 tickets for Saturday’s football game were donated to active or retired members of the military and their families through the Seats for Service Members program.
It also included complementary admission into the Military Appreciation Day tailgate party — a pregame celebration before Penn State took on Iowa.
It was a part of larger Military Appreciation Week activities hosted by Penn State, in partnership with the Borough of State College.
The highlight of the tailgate was live entertainment from the 28th Division Band and USO troupe, and the 22 pushup challenge by the Nittany Lion mascot to support efforts to prevent suicide among military vets.
“They bend over backwards,” Magee said about how the university embraces military members. “Not just this weekend, but always for military appreciation. It’s amazing to be out here with the school and community.”
According to statistics from Penn State, about 3,400 active and veteran military students are enrolled through World Campus.
That makes up about 50 percent of all reported military students at Penn State, and about 18 percent of total World Campus students, Director of Military Education Greg Bond said.
“We have our own military sector just for that audience,” Bond said. “We do a lot of outreach at military bases — we’re not super aggressive, but we support events on bases that promotes the kind of high-quality programs we offer.”
During the game Saturday night, all service members were recognized during special ceremonies at the first intermission and halftime.