All posts by Tom Shakely

James Irvin’s 1855 Letter to the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society

Bellefonte, February 22nd, 1855 To the Executive Committee of the Penna. State Agricultural Society Gentlemen, Feeling a deep interest in the early and efficient organization of the “Farmers High School of Pennsylvania,” I have observed with pleasure that the Legislature now in session have repealed the Act of April 13th 1854 and passed an Act ...

Homecoming 2017 scenes

It’s Homecoming 2017 at Penn State, and we’re sharing a few scenes from a short campus walking tour—including our Facebook Live campus walk. Whether you live near or far, let these images transport you to a place we love.

Snowy Day in Happy Valley

BlueWhiteTV produced this calm and enchanting short film, “A Snowy Day in Happy Valley,” shot during the 2016-17 winter. It captures some of the most beautiful spaces on and around campus. It would be beautiful to watch a similar video with scenes from Mount Nittany, Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, the Indian Steps, and other wilder ...

‘History of Penn State’ course fills up

August 14, 2017 We wrote in May about Penn State’s “HIST 197- History of Penn State” course that debuts this fall semester. Penn State News featured the course’s creation at that time: “The History of Penn State” grew out of discussions with several Penn State alumni who serve on the board of the Nittany Valley Society ...

Undergraduate education and research

The following opinion piece by Ben Novak appeared in the Centre Daily Times on April 14, 1996 under the headline “Undergrads suffer at hands of research”, addressing the relationship between Penn State’s commitments to undergraduate education and research. A January 1996 letter from Ben Novak to President Graham Spanier also addresses this topic. *** While ...

Introducing a Penn State History course

May 15, 2017 A few years ago a number of students and alumni came together through The Nittany Valley Society with a vision for a new course at Penn State—specifically a course on Penn State itself. After years of friendly pushing and relationship-building the course is almost here, and Penn State News has spotlighted the course:   ...

Chris Buchignani at Penn State’s ‘State of State’ Conference

Chris Buchignani of The Nittany Valley Society spoke to Penn Staters at the 2017 State of State conference. Chris spoke about the “spirit of place” that pervades the Nittany Valley, and what Penn Staters (any anyone) can do to conserve that spirit and pass it along to fresh generations.

One Trustee’s Thoughts on an Open Budget

The following appeared in late 1988, during Ben Novak’s first term as a Penn State trustee. *** By Ben Novak, Class of 1965 Dear Members of the Penn State University Community: It has now been almost half a year since I was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees. I have been to two ...

Visiting the State College of another time

Eric Porterfield recently picked up these historical State College photos from someplace, and The Nittany Valley Society grabbed pictures of them to share. They tell such a visceral story of the development of State College from something less than a speck on the map into the place we know it as today. They’re a witness ...

Vision for Penn State Greeks

By Tom Shakely, March 31, 2017 I remember touring Beta Theta Pi a few years ago. It was over Arts Fest in 2013, and I had been invited along with some other members of The Nittany Valley Society to see inside the new crown jewel of Penn State’s fraternity system. An alum had contributed a ...