By: Chrysa Smith

penn-state-logo“WE ARE ….”?????

Now, if you live in Pennsylvania or are one of the millions of alumni, you know the answer to this. We are, of course, Penn State. It’s the chant you’ll hear from the moment you take a campus tour through the athletic stadiums. My, even the retailers have taken note. While heading into State College (aka: Happy Valley), I noticed a sign that read ‘We Are….Beer.’ Hmm, well I’m sure they didn’t even need to spend on the advertising. But that is the stereotype that is exactly my point. They are…Penn State. And they are, so very much more than a party school. I just returned the other day from a reading conference up there. I must say, though not a rah-rah kind of gal, I was immersed in it. Blue and white wallpaper, furnishings, glasses, rugs. You name it and the colors ran deep. But walking around the campus, I would notice beautiful brass signage which marked some accomplishment. And I can honestly say, there are some impressive ones.  Did you know, for example, that:

  • the hormone progesterone was first synthesized there?
  • artificial insemination of dairy cattle first done there?
  • Joseph Heller finished his novel, Catch 22 while teaching there?
  • an atom was first seen there?
  • the first rechargeable pacemaker was invented there?
  • public broadcasting was first broadcast there?
  • houses the largest university creamery in the nation?

Well, you get the idea. There are many more technical type discoveries that I could uncover. But the gist of the matter is not to judge a book by its cover. And the cover, while blanketed in blue and white, might just have a deep interior life that’s not readily visible from the outside. I spent my undergrad life at a medium size school in the burbs of NYC. But, if I had it to do all over, with what I now know, I might be wearing blue and white now instead of purple. It’s this time that’s for spirit, for fun, for discovery, for exploration and yes, for the blue and white. I never thought I’d say it, but our family is officially a Nittany one—-we are indeed, Penn State.