Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘Penn State University

Preview of What is to Come

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It is a tradition at Penn State University for graduating students to have their portrait taken next to the limestone Nittany Lion carving that resides near the Nittany Lion Inn.

When I last visited the PSU campus, where I taught journalism and mass communication in the early 1990s, it was a hot late July day and no commencement ceremonies were being held.

So I took an interest in this scene of what I presume is a mother photographing her daughter next to the Nittany Lion wearing a graduation cap.

Perhaps this young lady will graduate in another week or two and they wanted to beat the crowd to getting a photograph with the lion.

I also thought that she might be an entering freshman and Mom wanted to demonstrate what her goal is in college. But she looks more like a senior than a freshman.

Whatever the purpose of this image, I thought it summed up well what many Penn Staters want to do one for one moment on one day of their life.


What Big Paws You Have

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At the front entrance to the Palmer Museum of Art on the campus of the Pennsylvania State University are two oversize bronze casting of cat paws.

Presumably, they are of a Nittany Lion, which is the school’s mascot.

Representations of the Nittany Lion can be found throughout the campus, with the most famous one being the limestone lion located near the Nittany Lion Inn.

But to my knowledge these are the largest and only bronze lion paws on campus.

Steps to Knowledge

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For most of the people who walk on these steps, their purpose is to attend a class in which they will, presumably, learn something that will be useful to them as they go through their life and career.

But for others, the steps are just another short part of their journey to work, whether they are professors, maintenance workers or academic support staff.

These steps lead to one of the entrances of the Sparks Building on the campus of Penn State University in University Park.

Although I taught at Penn State for two years, I never once ventured into the Sparks Building. None of my classes met there and I didn’t have any other reason to go inside.

Most of the time, the walk up or down these steps is routine. But not always. It is not difficult to imagine that over the years many students have climbed these stairs with a sense of dread.

Maybe they had a test that day for which they weren’t prepared. Maybe they really needed to get a certain score on the final exam in order to get the grade they desired for the course or even to pass the course.

Then again it might be that some students dreaded going to the class every time it met because they just didn’t enjoy the experience. They would rather be doing just about anything else rather than going to that class.

It works the other way, too. Some students have climbed these steps in anticipation of attending a class they loved and working with a professor they admired.

Students eventually graduate or drop out of school short of finishing a degree. Those joys, anxieties, fears and sense of indifference will fade from memory.

But no one ever leaves behind climbing steps. The stairways leading into college campus buildings are replaced by those leading into a workplace or any number of other places.

And people will climb those steps with all of the range of emotions that they felt during their college days while going to and from class.

Once Part of My Life

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For two years the Carnegie Building on the campus of Penn State University was my academic home. I had an office on the second floor, yet I only taught one class that met inside this building during the time I was at Penn State.

Most of the classes taught by the School of Communications met in other buildings because there were few classrooms in the Carnegie Building.

The Carnegie Building opened in 1904 as the Penn State library. It was funded by a $150,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, a steel industry magnate who served on the PSU board of trustees.

At one point the building was known as Carnegie Hall. It was expanded in 1921 and renovated in 1940 when the library moved to another location on campus.

In the ensuing years, the Carnegie Building was used for numerous uses, including offices, studios and storage for the university’s music program.

The journalism program moved into the Carnegie Building in 1950 and at one time the student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, was housed there.

Today the Carnegie Building is the home of the Donald P. Bellisario School of Communications, named after a 1961 Penn State alum.

The school’s website quotes Bellisario as saying “winning is having the right person believe in you.”

I’ve found more than once during my life that there is much truth to that statement.

Although my time in the Carnegie Building was short, it was quite memorable and not always for good reasons.

I went to Penn State on a one-year contract and it soon became apparent that I would be moving on to something else and not staying for long.

Academic life can be that way. For some, a particular campus can be a lifetime endeavor. But for most people, including students, your time on any given campus is transitory even while it may be quite memorable.

Written by csanders429

January 9, 2018 at 6:39 am

Who Has Texted Me Lately?

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A student at Penn State University checks her smart phone to see who has sent her message lately. She is walking on the sidwalk that leads to the Patee Library. Judging by the way she is shielding her phone with her left hand, the summer sun must be making it difficult to see the phone’s screen.

Written by csanders429

December 8, 2017 at 8:32 am

He Screamed for Ice Cream

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One of the most popular places on the Penn State campus is the Berkey Creamery. In fact no visit to PSU is complete without stopping by to get a cone or dish of ice cream.

The Creamery sells other dairy products and other items, but ice cream is No. 1. On a a football Saturday there will e a long line out the door waiting their turn to buy a scoop.

They’ll even pack a half-gallon or two in dry ice for you to take home. We’ve done that many times.

On a hot summer day, nothing beats getting a dish of your favor flavor and eating it on the patio outside as this man is doing. The color of his ice cream seems to match the color of his shorts.

Another Penn State Graduate and the Nittany Lion

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The limestone Nittany Lion statue  is probably the most photographed location on the campus of Penn State University at University Park. Thousands of Penn State graduates have had a photograph made of themselves standing with the lion.

It was not graduation day when I happened upon this mother taking making an image of her daughter posing with the lion.

Perhaps they wanted to make their image on a day when not as many people would be waiting in line for their turn with the lion.