In 1986, I was a junior at Woodridge High School in Peninsula, Ohio and trying to find the “perfect” college for me. That Fall, my mom and I took a “college knowledge” tour of my top two choices: Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University. Ironically, both schools were coming off NCAA Championship’s: Penn State for football and Villanova for basketball. My love of sports started at a very young age and I knew I wanted to attend a big school with a strong athletic program. Now I had to decide would I go to a football school or basketball school?
We visited Penn State first and we arrived in Happy Valley – I knew that this was the place for me. I loved it from afar, but once we got out of the car and walked around the campus I knew it was love. It felt like home and I felt comfortable there. I knew immediately that this is where I wanted to be a college student. We still drove to Villanova after our visit to Penn State, but I never got out of the car. I knew I had found the place for me in Penn State, so why waste our time in touring Villanova?
My four years at Penn State where probably some of the best years of my life. I made dear friends, I grew up, I made mistakes, I made good choices, I ate bad, I did good in school, I loved volunteering for THON, I did not so good in Latin, I loved going to Beaver Stadium on Saturdays, I hated winters in State College, I loved the HUB, I had BIG hair and when it was time to graduate, I was sad to leave.
So you can only imagine how hard the past three weeks have been for me. I am so proud to be an alumni of PSU. Yes, I love Penn State football and have always held Joe Paterno in high regards for everything he did on and off the field. Today it is hard to believe that the action of a few could turn our university and community upside down. My prayers go out to the victims and their families. We can’t take away what happen to them, but we came make sure it never happens again. We must do whatever we can to raise awareness for sexual abuse and most importantly ensure that those that are guilty of wrong doings are punished.
I love Penn State. I love the role it had in molding me into the person I am today. I am so proud to be of one of the 577,000 living alumni. There is no other place like Happy Valley. It will take time, but I promise to do whatever I can to help get us back to Penn State – Success With Honors. We Are Penn State and I will forever be a Nittany Lion!