Penn State

On Centre | Penn State: Plenty of culture to be had

Penn State has been told, rather famously, that it has a culture problem.

The problem, they say, is too much emphasis on football.

I say Penn State overflows with culture, but football has little to do with it.

When you live in Centre County, you are no stranger to the campus, but it is much more than a giant organism with a stadium as its heart.

Everyone knows the well-worn statistic that small, sleepy State College becomes the third largest city in Pennsylvania on those fall Saturday’s when a hundred or so thousand people show up en masse to fill Beaver Stadium.

But I would wager the number of people who visit the various campuses for other reasons would be just as impressive, because if there is one thing Penn State does better than teach culture, it is share it.

My love affair with drama started in high school, around the same time my Philipsburg-Osceola English class visited campus to see “Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

There was more.

Over the years, I have met heroes and villains in the pages of books at Pattee, floated away on clouds of tutu-fluffy ballet music, explored amazing art and made some that might not have broken ground but was fun and meaningful for me.

At the Bryce Jordan Center alone, I have been kicked into the holiday spirit by the Rockettes, soared on a magical flight with Cirque du Soleil, rocked along with Billy Joel and sang (silently) with Sarah Brightman and the “Music of the Night.”

My son’s experience began even earlier with introductions to amazing intersections of literature, science, music, dance and more on campus.

This week it was “Frogz” that kept him hopping all through dinner as he described his Eisenhower Auditorium field trip.

Yes, there is a culture problem. It seems we just can’t get enough of it.