“Every fresh generation,” remarked Alexis de Tocqueville in visiting early America, “is like a new people.” As a college community, the Nittany Valley is one continually bursting with “fresh generations” who have heard of America’s “Happy Valley,” but who have also grown up in a marketing-saturated culture that breeds a healthy skepticism about the authentic versus the counterfeit. Is there a special way of life to be found in Mount Nittany’s shadow? Are the people of the Nittany Valley really who we’ve heard they are?
The Nittany Valley Society, a Central Pennsylvania non-profit cultural conservancy, was founded by a group of students, townspeople, alumni, and friends alive to Happy Valley’s special spirit and character.
And while a community’s personalities and particulars change with time, an authentic community’s spirit and character are perennial—always in the air, waiting to be breathed in. A community’s history and a people’s story, when properly conveyed to newcomers, remain a living part of the cultural environment, just as Mount Nittany has been conserved and remains a visible symbol of the physical environment.
In August I wrote that The Nittany Valley Society was embarking on its first development effort in the form of The Gateway Campaign. We hoped to create a permanent operational endowment through the Centre Foundation, Central Pennsylvania’s community foundation, to ensure the long-term viability of The Nittany Valley Society as the region’s cultural conservancy.
Thanks to the strong commitment of our Board of Directors and family of donors who have so far collectively contributed more than $7,500, with commitments for another $2,500 in the weeks to come, The Nittany Valley Renaissance Fund has been established with the Centre Foundation. The Nittany Valley Renaissance Fund, even at its present humble size, will support The Nittany Valley Society’s cultural conservation efforts, and ensure that each generation is better able to share the spirit of the Nittany Valley and record its own chapter in the unfolding story of the place.
If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll learn more about the work of the Centre Foundation, and I hope you’ll consider a contribution now to help us continue building The Nittany Valley Renaissance Fund for the future.