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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Spanier Cares About Class Gifts?

Not so long ago, a month or so ago, OPP started demolishing most of the class gift of 1900.  Park benches provided much needed sitting space, on both Pattee Mall, and Old Main mall, the gift of the class of 1900 were quickly and disrespectfully removed.  

This is the time of year when the seniors decide what they want their “legacy” to be.  This is a great tradition, if not for anything else but the impact it has on our campus.  Some of the most notable landmarks on campus are class gifts, from the Lion Shrine, to the Allen Street gates.

When OPP shows such careless disregard for history, it is hard to take articles like this one from the Centre Daily Times seriously.

Penn State President Graham Spanier said he’s willing to bet that every Penn State student walks by at least one senior class gift every day, whether it’s the gates at Allen Street or the Nittany Lion statue.Soon the Old Main Bell will become another piece of Penn State history that students, faculty, alumni and visitors can admire when walking through campus.

The Senior Class Gift Committee announced Thursday that the 2009 class gift will be the restoration and display of the Old Main Bell.

“The bronze bell, currently in the Old Main Bell Tower, has not rung since the last day of class in June 1929,” said Liz Kernion, overall chair of the committee.

“Once restored, the bell will be placed in a prominent location on campus where thousands of students, alumni and visitors can see it and appreciate it as a symbol of Penn State’s distinguished history.”

Cast in 1874, the bronze bell now can be seen only by visitors to the limited-access bell tower, Spanier said. Class funds will go toward removing the bell from the tower and its restoration and relocation on campus.We are hopeful that eventually the bell can be rung on special occasions, allowing the campus community to hear University history,” Spanier said.

More than 2,500 seniors voted on the proposal last week, choosing restoration of the bell over two other proposals — a scholarship and creation of a “Mount Nittany Vista” at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Kernion said seniors have so far pledged $20,000 for the gift.

The tradition of the senior class gift began with the first class that graduated in 1861 — a class of 11 — whose gift was a portrait of Evan Pugh, the university’s first president, Spanier said. Each class gift, he said, brings with it a unique story.

Seniors Lauren Seitz, international politics, and Andy Jaye, biology, both voted for the Old Main bell.

“I wanted something that was concrete that we could come back and see,” Seitz said.

“And, you know, we always hear about how cool the bell is up there, but we never get to see it,” Jaye said. “Now it will come down, and it will be like Penn State’s Liberty bell.”

President Spanier, if you really cared about this, then you would have prevented one of your arms, in the top down system you run, from tearing down a piece of history.  Lets be honest at least on this topic, where people give so much.

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[…] We’re going to try to get a picture of some tags this afternoon. Good thinking on behalf of the Gift Committee! This is exactly the kind of respect for past class gifts that Safeguard Old State has been pushing for. […]

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