I had lunch today with John Patishnock, an employee of the Penn State Alumni Association and freelance writer. John is a local who recently returned home after several years living away from Pennsylvania, and he writes a regular column for the Centre County Gazette on his experiences “Re-discovering Happy Valley.”
His introductory piece recounts a family hike up Mount Nittany, fulfillment of a long-delayed requirement for any legitimate “Penn State bucket list.” Of course, we have a soft spot for Mount Nittany memories and the like, as evidenced by our release of “Conserving Mount Nittany”. One passage in particular caught my attention, because it speaks to the distinctive Spirit of the Valley we seek to conserve. John and his hiking party have reached the famed Mike Lynch overlook and are admiring the view of town and campus…
Then something unexpected transpires, something I doubt I forget for the rest of my life. A group, which includes a young boy and girl, join us on the overlook, which is overrun with stones and tree branches and stumps creating unofficial paths.
“I see Penn State!” the young girl screams, extending her arm and pointing her finger toward the horizon. The euphoria is loud and excitement-filled, the kind of outburst that’s rarely seen in everyday life that all too often seems mundane and predictable.
But that’s the type of joy that Penn State continually provides, no matter what may happen to alter the perception of a university that for so long has and continues to be a worldwide leader in so many areas.
One of the best aspects of our work so far has been the opportunity to discover and connect with so many people who share our love and loyalty for the Nittany Valley. I enjoyed reading John’s piece and look forward to working with him on an exciting publishing and multimedia project that we have in development. We’ll be working to surface some of the most remarkable untold stories of a place where ordinary people do extraordinary things.