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 ...

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Elliot Abrams: The More Things Change…

By Chris Buchignani To even the most casual radio listeners here in the Valley (and in many other markets throughout the country), Accuweather meteorologist Elliot Abrams is the familiar voice of the morning weather forecast. Abrams has been with Accuweather since its early days; even as he has become a fixture of an expanding international ...

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The Week that Restored Penn State Football

By Kevin Horne & Chris Buchignani, October 2015 “They’ll be enjoying the tailgating afterwards, with a 30-point win.” On that note, ABC’s Brad Nessler wrapped up the national broadcast of Penn State’s October 1, 2005 win over 18th-ranked Minnesota, a 44-14 shellacking that featured two standout plays that would endure for years among the program’s ...

Princess Nittany: The Valley’s Folk Hero

At the end of August 2015, The Nittany Valley Society had an opportunity to participate in the first annual LION (Living In One Neighborhood) Bash. The outdoor festival celebrated the town/gown diversity of our community and aimed to connect the resident and student populations, groups that are often estranged even while living side-by-side. The NVS ...

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From the Trenches: Farms, Forts, and Penn State’s Commitment to Local History

Last year, Casey Snyder worked as a student intern for The Nittany Valley Society, assisting with our archive project for the CBICC. We became interested in his work with Penn State’s archaeology program and invited him to author this guest column on his experiences working to recover lost history close to home. By Casey J. ...

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