As part of the mission of The Nittany Valley Society to foster a “spirit of community across time,” we provide speakers on a growing corpus sharing aspects of the character, history, and spirit of our area. Our speakers are available for faculty associations, student clubs, civic groups, regional classes, and other groups. No honorariums or fees are required for speaking, though one-time gifts are welcome.

Speaker Inquiries

What was Greek life?

A challenging and provocative talk that delves into the origins of American fraternities and sororities, covering how they’ve changed over time and why they face so many challenges and carry such a burdensome reputation. Includes practical solutions for Greeks to consider today, including how to make their homes sacred spaces, where to have parties, how to cultivate habits and ways of life, and how to avoid making everything a program or initiative.

Nittany Valley Legends

In publishing “The Legends of the Nittany Valley,” a unique collection of Henry W. Shoemaker’s classic Indian legends pertaining to our area, the Nittany Valley Society aims to “help the citizens of this community to take ownership of a shared mythology.” Like all good folklore and fairy tales, these legends are best experienced in good company, read aloud for a live audience. What better way to inherit oral tradition and lay claim to a common mythology than by sharing it together, as our distant ancestors might have done in ages past?

Our Founders Strong and Great

The Alma Mater of the Pennsylvania State University speaks about her “founders strong and great.” What was the common character and essential vision shared by the founders of the University? Who was Evan Pugh, the founding president? What about George W. Atherton led to the rebirth of the College at the turn of the 20th century? Why has the Paterno family had such a transformative impact? Learn about the revolutionary ideals which inspired the founding of Penn State and have sustained it with each generation.

A University as a Living Ideal

What is the nature of the University? Is it a name or a goal? An honor or an invitation? To be a University means more than simply achieving a status; it is, rather, a calling to a special kind of striving. Learn why Penn State President Eric A. Walker was unsatisfied with an education measured simply by credit count. Discover the nature of the University and the sort of excellence one comes to a University to face. Hear the call to the unceasing quest at the heart of the real University experience.