Thursday, January 26, 2012


Some of you know that I'm an alum of Rutgers, and when I was an RU student Penn State was a huge rival of ours. At that time I was always angry at the chant: WE ARE PENN STATE!

Times have changed. Since we've lived in PA, I've learned the story behind that chant. Back when segregation was still prevalent in the south, Joe Paterno and his team went to a southern campus for a game. On arrival they were told that the black players couldn't stay in the same hotel as the white players. Joe told them either the whole team stayed there or the whole team stayed elsewhere, because, "WE are Penn State!" Now I understand why that phrase is shouted with such pride.

I also understand the state's pride in Joe Paterno's long association with Penn State. The library is named after him because of the huge monetary donations Joe and Sue Paterno made to the school. He has brought enormous amounts of money to the school with his winning football teams, as well as the many excellent scholar/athletes he recruited.

Finally, Joe insisted on his team putting education first. He inspired kids to get good grades and graduate with a career in sight other than the NFL. He and Sue lived in a modest home near the campus where they had a round dinner table so there was always room for one more. His phone was listed and his door was open.

Now, finally, I understand about JoePa. I wish his wife well as Joe leaves his very classy, well-lived life behind.

1 comment:

  1. It's so sad that his tenure at PSU ended the way it did. My heart breaks for his family.