It seems like every day, there is another Penn State headline. It’s enough to make a blue and white heart cringe seeing Penn State’s name pop up in a Google alert or across the crawl on TV as you wait to see if it’s good news or bad.
Yeah, I know. I’m media, and therefore part of the problem. Doesn’t mean it stings any less when the headlines are mine. In my family, if you went to college, you went to Penn State.
We didn’t spend all of our time at University Park, even though we are from the Moshannon Valley. I took my first classes at the DuBois campus. My brothers-in-law both studied there, too. My mom did the same when she was studying nursing before moving to Altoona. My little sister took her classes wherever she could to get her credits, sometimes scheduling classes at all three campuses in the same semester. Only my stepfather and my uncle were pure main campus guys.
But no matter where you started, or where you finished, or how long it took you to get to the finish line, you were going to the same school. You were always going to Penn State.
That’s part of what makes Penn State special. Whether you study at a campus in Erie or Abington, Hazelton or Beaver, you are still a Nittany Lion. Madlyn Hanes, vice president of the Commonwealth Campuses, spoke to trustees this week, detailing the difference between the Penn State system and the schools of California or New York, where every campus stands alone.
“Looking in, we are a bit of a phenom,” she said.
Hanes said that she has been asked by other schools about re-creating the multicampus system elsewhere, but isn’t sure it is possible. She said she doesn’t think it’s something another state could decide to just do.
It’s something that had to be started that way from the beginning, growing organically, like aspen trees that have individual trunks and leaves and branches, but grow together, part of the same organism.
At Penn State, we have one heart and we have one dear old State, which just happens to have 24 homes scattered around the commonwealth.