Penn State and the State College communities have been in my family’s blood for nearly 80 years. I grew up in awe of this special community, and the people and places that make Happy Valley distinctive.
It’s what led me to help create The Nittany Valley Society to share the spirit of this place with every fresh generation of students and townspeople. It’s why I wrote “Conserving Mount Nittany” to tell the story of our mountain’s conservation. And it’s why I visit town as often as possible, volunteer for the Penn State Alumni Association, and give proudly to Centre Foundation and other local causes.
What I’ve never loved about State College is the needless animosity and bitterness between students and townspeople that sometimes poisons the good feeling of the town. As we get older, it’s incumbent on us to cultivate friendships and forge relationships with young people, both students and newly settled young professionals. Young people deserve to be loved by those of us who are older and have more experience and context for the community they’ve come into and try earnestly to be a part of.
I’ve been watching the borough race with interest, and am putting all my love and support behind Michael Black for mayor, and Marina Cotarelo, Dan Murphy and Evan Myers for Borough Council. We need their vision, their energy and their commitment to building upon the successes of so many generations in State College to create a more inclusive and vibrant town.
Tom Shakely, Philadelphia