How dare Jerry Sandusky shame those victims, shame his charity and shame an entire university. How dare the other guilty parties think it was acceptable to turn the other cheek. How dare they insult the students, the faculty and the alumni with their arrogance. Penn State has a long and celebrated history of integrity. That is why we have always called it Penn State pride.
Let’s not forget that while Penn State is known around the country as a football team, the students and alumni know that our beloved school is so much more than that. Penn State has a multitude of other accomplishments in its collegiate groups, team sports, research and academics. In fact, more than $700 million of research is conducted at Penn State each year.
Penn State is home to the largest student run philanthropy in the world, a 46 hour long IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (also known as THON). In 1992, when I danced in THON, it was the first year that fundraising broke the one million dollar mark. In 2011, THON raised $9,563,016 for children with cancer and their families.
Penn State is so much more than its iconic football team. Its World Campus is ranked No. 1 among the top 25 online colleges and universities. It has top ranked programs in the country for: marketing, engineering, counselor education, higher education teaching/administration and supply chain management. It has the top ranked engineering school for aerospace and defense recruitment. Four Penn State alumni have flown in space.
Statistics and rankings aside, Penn State has been a place where students like me spent four fabulous years of our lives learning, growing, preparing and achieving. It is the campus I walked on each day, proud of its beauty and sense of community. It is where I learned to live on my own. It is where I met lifelong friends and my husband. It is where I studied for my future career.
So, despite the awful news of the scandal and betrayal which just may tarnish Penn State’s reputation for years to come, I still bleed blue and white. Although my heart hurts, I will not let those shameful actions (and its equally shameful cover up) take that away from me.
This scandal does not define Penn State. We are Penn State.