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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


The Pursuit of Excellence at Penn State University

The entire Penn State family is entering into a new age after last week’s sudden departure of the ever-controversial Vicky Triponey, former Vice-President for Student Affairs here in Happy Valley. Gail Hurley, the incoming interim replacement in Student Affairs has promised to keep an open ear to the student body, which is encouraging. Ms. Hurley will undoubtedly have a lot on her place with “the mess” left by Dr. Triponey.

Vicky’s four year campaign of terror took a slash and burn campaign to student traditions here, and now it’s time to take inventory of what we’ve lost. We have to look at what she’s left in her wake, and now it’s time for Penn Staters young and old to set about the task of rebuilding the time-honored, student founded traditions that made Penn State such a great, respected and renowned state institution.

The time has come for all Penn Staters — student, alumnus, professor and administrator — to once more embark on the sacred path toward The Pursuit of Excellent for the Glory of Dear Old State. We are called to do more than pay homage to the glory of years long gone by at Penn State. Rather, we must live up to the great examples set by cherished Penn Staters the likes of President George Atherton and Evan Pugh.

The vision for Penn State as more than a profit-machine, as more than just a research university, and more than just a four year stop-off on the long road from adolescence to the American workforce. If we are to believe the mantra of Tradition and Loyalty and Glory that are constantly trumpeted by our Lion Ambassadors, we must too understand that those special hallmarks — uniquely a part of the fabric of life at Penn State — must be embraced, protected and advanced by both those in positions of power and the everyday Penn Stater.

We are called to something greater than just passing through the corridors of Old State — we are called to enrich our community in a genuinely student centered and independently student-founded, tradition-rich environment. The great campaigns at Penn State can no longer be administrator-started, but must be reclaimed and be student-started. This is accomplished when the authority students rightly hold is respected by our administrators and occurs when true shared governance exists.

Safeguard Old State will facilitate this vital dialogue throughout the Penn State community over the course of the year. As a small first step to revitalizing Penn State a truly student centric institution, we are proud to announce the establishment of “The Pursuit of Excellence Blog” here at Safeguard Old State, which will be the primary means by which we jump-start this desperately needed conversation about the future of Dear Old State as decided and executed by its students in an environment of freedom and mutual respect between administrator and student.

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