Category: Town & Gown Columns

Innovative Penn State students elevate local non-profit community

By Marcus Sabrowski, March 2017 Recently, The Nittany Valley Society has had the pleasure of working with students from the Penn State chapter of SCNO. Their consulting teams are helping us rethink and elevate marketing of the Nittany Valley Heritage Walk. The experience has been extremely positive, and we invited them to share their story with ...

In Search of Evan Pugh

By Chris Buchignani, February 2017 Three Penn State presidents have been laid to rest here in Centre County. President Atherton is famously interred right along Pollock Road adjacent to Schwab Auditorium, while Milton Eisenhower finds his final repose in Centre County Memorial Park along the Benner Pike. Evan Pugh, Penn State’s founding president and one ...

Penn State Football Remixes Its Past

By Chris Buchignani, January 2017 Suffering through a prolonged period of frustration and despair, the Penn State football team faces a do-or-die moment in an early Big Ten contest: Trailing in the fourth quarter and needing an unlikely game-extending play to keep hope alive, the Lions thread the needle, capping off a precarious come-from-behind win ...

Yule ales add to Advent Spirit (Nittany Valley Press Excerpt)

Today, it is not unusual to enter a bar and find a laundry list of exotic beers on tap or to hear news of a local brew pub or microbrewery opening up. Such was not the case in 1984 (only five years after the legalization of homebrewing) when the editor of the Centre Daily Times ...

Salute to veterans

By Chris Buchignani, November 2016 The great stories of any age are often best understood by tracing the tiny threads of personal experience. In following these winding strands, seeing where and how they intersect, we come to understand how the collective weight of countless individual acts underpins the forces that shape our world. On the ...

The Penn State-Wisconsin Rivalry That Never Was

By Chris Buchignani, October 2016 Recently, I found myself caught in Park Ave traffic behind a car adorned with an obnoxiously large Ohio State Buckeyes magnet. With merely a glimpse of it, my pulse quickened and my palms tightly gripped the steering wheel. As an ardent Nittany Lions fan, I recoiled at the unwelcome reminder ...

The Legend of Penn’s Cave (Nittany Valley Press Excerpt)

This is the very first Pennsylvania legend published by folklorist Henry W. Shoemaker in 1902. It is the official legend featured at Penn’s Cave, where it is painted on a large sign at the entrance. This legend tells not of the Princess Nittany over whose burial mound (or over whose lover’s burial mound) Nittany Mountain ...

Why Learn the Penn State Story?

By Chris Buchignani, August 2016 To wrap up this series of articles on local efforts to bring history to life, I would like to focus on a project that is a source of great excitement and pride – The Nittany Valley Society’s support for an undergraduate course on Penn State history. In early 2013, two ...

One-Room Schools Bring History Alive

By Chris Buchignani, July 2016 Over the past several months, I have written about efforts to “mine” the rich preserves of knowledge buried in the past to release their power in the present. Previous installments of this series have focused mainly on conceptual conveyances of this potential – books, stories, and documents. But what about ...

A Brief History of Penn State Astronomy

By Chris Buchignani, May 2016 For years, they stood unused and largely unremarked upon: Two single-story brick structures capped with white domes adjacent to the Eisenhower Auditorium. In the years before they were torn down during one of the latest campus facelifts, people would occasionally ask about them. These buildings obviously served some function related ...