Penn State

Penn State’s favorite mailman to retire, write book

Mike "The Mailman" Herr of State College kisses "Flower" the pig, held by its owner Emilie Campbell, 4, of Pennsylvania Furnace. This was during a luncheon and auction at the Robeson Center on campus.
Mike "The Mailman" Herr of State College kisses "Flower" the pig, held by its owner Emilie Campbell, 4, of Pennsylvania Furnace. This was during a luncheon and auction at the Robeson Center on campus. Centre Daily Times, file

Mike the Mailman truly delivered. He is crazy for mail.

Mike Herr, the name of the man with a bigger personality than Beaver Stadium, ran the University Park post office for decades. He’s got a few weeks left.

Penn State’s favorite mailman will retire April 1 — no joke.

It is a decision that fits history and his humor. Herr’s last day will be 48 years since his first as a United States Postal Service employee at the State College post office on April 1, 1968. He took the job on the same day of his interview, because he did not want to move away from Happy Valley for work.

It was a five-year plan, he said, that turned into a lifetime plan.

Quick-witted and fun-loving, Mike the Mailman delivered as much compassion and laughs as he did mail for students and their parents.

Herr’s retirement plans include “sprucing up,” namely cleaning out the garage and spending more time landscaping around his home, and continuing to attend as many Penn State sporting events and other functions as possible.

His biggest project is a book, which he has started writing, about his experiences at Penn State.

“Once I’m finished with my book, I’ll need to find a publisher, and then I would love to tour around the country with my wife, speaking to every single PSU alumni chapter,” he said “This way we can accomplish two of our goals, staying connected with the university and traveling the country.”

One chapter of the book would likely be about the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, which he has delivered mail to since 1990 as a part of mail call.

Kindness matters. Humor always helps; staying enthusiastic about the big and the little things, and showing compassion to every single person that I meet.

Mike the Mailman

He used to personally give dancers one or two letters when Thon was held in the White Building. It gradually became a full-time job in recent years, often with Mack trucks full of letters and packages for dancers that are delivered at two separate times during Thon weekend.

“Thon is Penn State,” Mike the Mailman said in an email. “When I think about a college or university, their strength is in its student body. Being a part of Thon and seeing firsthand such an unbelievable amount of love and compassion that all of these students have, coming together for a cause much greater than themselves.”

“It sets a precedent for them to continue to be involved with this and or other events/organizations to better the community that we live in. When these kids leave Penn State, their experiences from here stay with them, and hopefully, the philanthropic portion continues for them long after they’ve graduated.”

Herr will also take some mementos with him when he finishes cleaning out his office.

“To me, the best part has been all of the people who have walked into my office here at University Park,” he said. “From the one-time visits from prospective future students to the regulars that have formed friendships with my family and I. To me, those are the best mementos.”

Mike the Mailman explained in early February how he left his stamp on Penn State.

“My secret is fairly simple, solid truths,” Mike the Mailman said. “Kindness matters. Humor always helps; staying enthusiastic about the big and the little things, and showing compassion to every single person that I meet.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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