Penn State favorite Franco Harris ’72 was the 2016 recipient of the distinguished Lion’s Paw Medal, and I was present at the awards luncheon to witness his moving and powerful address to a packed room.
He gave a heartfelt speech defending the honor of Penn State as well as its storied football program. He rallied for healing within the Penn State community and implored the board of trustees to correct the false narrative of 2011 once and for all and to offer a long overdue apology to Sue Paterno.
Throughout his speech, the audience was absolutely silent, with all eyes intently fixed on Harris. It was the proverbial moment of truth. He challenged the board to better itself through reform and accountability. He cited that the foundation of the issues that divide the Penn State community is built on lies and is a product of the dangerous unchecked power on the board, which still exists today. This is a board, who when faced with the possibility of losing power, changes the rules to ensure they maintain their leverage. They try to give the illusion of transparency, but they fool no one.
I applaud Harris for so accurately and courageously identifying the problems that Penn State is facing from within. He passionately verbalized what so many Penn Staters are feeling in their hearts about a university that we all hold dear. He made me 100 percent Penn State proud and confirmed once again that “Success with Honor” really has made a difference!
Ceil Masella, Columbus, N.J.