2016-17 Novak Fellowship: Penn State Heritage Trees & Groves

By Chris Buchignani, October 2016 Do you love Penn State? Are you passionate about harnessing the power of film to tell compelling stories? Consider applying for the 2016-17 Novak Fellowship. The 2016-17 Novak Fellowship sponsors creation of a video about Penn State’s Heritage Trees and Groves program. This year’s fellow will receive a $600 stipend. Prospective ...

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 ...

The First History of Penn State

By Chris Buchignani, April 2016 Over its 161 years, Penn State has twice sanctioned books chronicling the University’s history, once in the 1940’s and again with an updated version in the 1980’s. While history professor and Penn State historian Wayland Dunaway’s 1946 “History of The Pennsylvania State College” was the first official account of Old ...

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Looking Back to Move Forward

By Chris Buchignani, March 2016 Why should we care about the past? The potential answers to this question are many and varied, but certainly, in looking back to understand what came before, we can see something of ourselves reflected back at us, extracting value from the experience. It is not without peril. Genuine self-examination risks ...

Our Founders Were Real

By Tom Shakely Evan Pugh was Penn State’s first president. It’s great if you happen to know of Evan Pugh. In fact, it’s likely that knowing about him already puts you in the minority among students and alumni. But just knowing this bit of raw information isn’t worth much in and of itself. It’s available ...

The Origins of ‘Happy Valley’

Most of have heard at least one theory on the origins of our “Happy Valley” nickname. Did it arise during the Great Depression, an expression of area’s economic resiliency? Or perhaps it was the tongue-in-cheek lament of would-be 1960s activists, frustrated by a stubbornly docile pace of life. The Nittany Valley Society is pleased to ...

Our Street Names Are Memorials

It’s always great when our work inspires others to share what they know about the Nittany Valley’s story. That happened last year with a column we wrote for Town & Gown about The Nittany Valley Society’s project cataloging the CBICC historical archive: Vince Verbeke, immediate past president of the Mount Nittany Conservancy, left a comment on the article that ...

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