Penn State

The original musical "The Last Day" runs June 12-22 at Penn State's Downtown Theatre in State College.
Penn State School of Theatre

An original musical opens Wednesday night at Penn State’s Downtown Theatre in State College.

"The Last Day" is the story of a college musical theatre student tormented by a secret he has never shared, until he’s dropped from the program and turns to his fellow students for help. 

Penn State’s musical theatre department commissioned Altoona native and Penn State football star Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger to write the play.  

Kristine Allen / WPSU

Rick Lombardo is the new is the Director of the School of Theatre at Penn State, hired last summer.

WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with Lombardo about bringing back the professional summer season of Penn State Centre Stage  in the summer of 2019 and about how his college pre-med plans were thwarted by theatre.  (Listen to the interview at the link above.)

You'll find more information on the Penn State Centre Stage summer season here.

This I Believe: I Believe In Bravery, Not Perfection

Jun 6, 2019

I believe in bravery, not perfection.

When I was growing up, I learned how to be brave at the lake in New Hampshire my family visited every summer. I would jump off swings, rocks and boats, soaking myself in the murky water. My siblings would watch in awe. I was the daredevil, the center of attention—and I loved it. At the lake, I possessed a kingdom of my own, and I determined that I would conquer the world.

A screenshot of the map related to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania broadband study shows only some fractions of the state meet the FCC definition of broadband internet downloading speed.

A new report released on Monday by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania says the Federal Communications Commission overstates broadband internet availability and access across Pennsylvania.

Karen Muir, front, Becker's attorney, walked out of the Centre County Courthouse on Thursday, after the jury rendered a verdict for Becker.
Min Xian / WPSU

A Centre County jury found Braxton Becker, the house manager of Penn State’s now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, guilty on one of the three misdemeanor charges he faced on Thursday.

After five hours of deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict that Becker, a former Beta Theta Pi brother, was guilty of hindering apprehension and not guilty of tampering with evidence or obstructing justice.

BookMark: "Naamah" By Sarah Blake

May 30, 2019
Camille-Yvette Welsch reviews "Naamah" by Sarah Blake.
Paul Ruby

One of the best-known stories in the Judeo-Christian tradition is that of Noah, father of nations, who built the ark, saved the animals and repopulated the world. Little is said of his wife Naamah, and it is to this forgotten figure that Penn State MFA alumna Sarah Blake turns. She imagines her way into Naamah’s life—the constant care, cleaning and feeding of the animals; the coordination of packing and meals; and the emotional and mental labor that figures into so many women’s daily lives. All of this is magnified by 11 months on an ark inhabited only by family and hungry animals.

Jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

After hearing the cross-examination of State College Police Detective David Scicchitano and three additional witnesses on Wednesday, jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker.

Braxton Becker, left, left the Centre County Courthouse during the first day of the jury trial on his alleged deletion of security footage in relation to the case of the hazing death of Tim Piazza in 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

The jury trial for Braxton Becker, a former member and the house manager of Penn State’s now defunct Beta Theta Pi fraternity, began Tuesday. It’s the first jury trial in the case related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. Becker allegedly deleted security camera footage of the fraternity house basement.

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach holds a permit
Steph Krane / WPSU

Fearing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requiring a permit for businesses transporting goods through a quarantine zone. 

The quarantine zone for the insect includes 14 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and four counties in New Jersey and Virginia. 

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach says Extension partnered with the Department of Agriculture to create a course for those looking to obtain a permit.

This I Believe: I Believe In Storytelling

May 23, 2019

I believe in storytelling and bringing attention to those who live outside the limelight.

In the summer of 2017, I collaborated with my great-aunt and godmother, Marie-Edith Douillard, who has lived in Paris for 40 years and works for a human rights organization called Amnesty International. She introduced me to two refugees and helped me create a short documentary that has since been successful at various international film festivals.

State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine gave a presentation on creating best practices for collaboration between universities and local communities at Penn State on Monday, May 20.
Min Xian / WPSU

In college towns, the large student population can complicate relations between universities and local communities. This week, the 2019 International Town and Gown Association Conference is at Penn State talking about how the two can coexist.

The conference is hosted by Penn State and the Borough of State College and features topics like Greek life reform, public safety and diversity.

In this file photo, Luke Visser, left, arrived for his preliminary hearing on charges related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. He was resentenced to house arrest on Wednesday.
Chris Knight / AP Photo

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A judge is letting another former Penn State fraternity member serve his sentence on home confinement instead of in jail in the 2017 death of a pledge.

Former Beta Theta Pi member Luke Visser was resentenced Wednesday to 45 days of home confinement and six months of probation, instead of two months to six months in jail. 

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall resentenced two other former Beta Theta Pi members last month, changing their jail sentences to home confinement.

Penn State assistant research professor Joyce Sakamoto looks at a tick.
Steph Krane / WPSU

A new Penn State study shows that the number of ticks that can carry Lyme disease is increasing in the state. Since 2000, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the country.

The study suggests that number might increase. Researchers found that the blacklegged tick, the most common carrier of Lyme disease, is now the dominant species of tick in the state.

Penn State Plans For New Art Museum At Aboretum

May 14, 2019
The proposed University Art Museum will be located in the open area to the right of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens on the Penn State University Park campus.
Penn State

Visitors to the Aboretum at Penn State will soon notice an addition to the area. Penn State is working with an architect on plans for the new University Art Museum, set to be built at the Aboretum’s entrance. The new museum will replace the current Palmer Museum of Art. 

Palmer Museum Director Erin Coe said that this move will allow for more space.  


Sixty-five years ago, the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court decision found that separate was not equal. We’ll talk with the organizers of a Penn State conference on the historic case, about school segregation then… and now. 

Crystal Sanders is an associate professor of history and director of the Africana Research Center at Penn State. Erica Frankenberg is associate professor of education and demography and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State.   

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa., Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shakes hands with Jim Piazza after signing anti-hazing legislation inspired by the death of Piazza's son, Penn State student Tim Piazza.
AP Photo/Marc Levy

Pennsylvania passed a new law last year, which requires higher education institutions to establish antihazing policies and publish hazing reports. Penn State is hosting a conference Thursday to discuss best practices under the new law.  

The Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law is named after the Penn State student who died from fatal injuries suffered during a fraternity hazing in 2017. Following his death, his parents advocated against hazing, and the state’s legislature supported changes to the antihazing statute which toughen penalties.

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

File Photo: Former Penn State President Graham Spanier departs after his sentencing hearing at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, June 2, 2017.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge will consider ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's argument that his conviction should be thrown out, a week before he's due to report to jail.

The hearing Thursday concerns Spanier's argument he was wrongly convicted in Pennsylvania state court for mishandling a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky under a version of the law that wasn't in place at that time.

He also argues the statute of limitations wasn't properly applied.

Paul Perreault was guest speaker at the March 12 Penn State Forum.
Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Paul Perreault, the CEO of one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies visited Penn State University Park recently. He talked with WPSU’s Carolyn Donaldson about the work of his company, CSL Behring. The company focuses on developing drugs to treat rare diseases, improving existing drugs and advancing the field of gene therapy.   

The 'Campus Clash' stopped at Penn State on April 23, 2019. Host Charlie Kirk was joined by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State students and others filled a lecture hall at University Park Tuesday night to hear Donald Trump Jr. praise his father’s work as president and tell them the 2020 election is crucial.

“2020 should be a no-brainer. 2020 should be the easiest reelection in the history of the world. But, on paper that’s accurate, but it won’t be, because we’re not even close to a level playing field,” Trump said to applause and cheers.

Debby and Ken Iwaniec
Anne Danahy / WPSU

In 2008, Kenton Iwaniec was driving home from his job as a state police trooper in Chester County when an impaired driver’s vehicle crashed into his. The driver had a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit and had taken Oxycodone illegally. Penn State University Police & Public Safety is sponsoring a talk by the Iwaniec family, “An Empty Seat at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the HUB-Robeson Center at University Park. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talked with Kenton’s parents, Ken and Debby Iwaniec.

In this file photo, Luke Visser, arrives for his preliminary hearing on charges related to the hazing death of Tim Piazza at Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity, at the Centre County Courthouse on June 12, 2017.
Chris Knight / AP Photo

A judge has sentenced three former Penn State fraternity members to jail in the 2017 death of a pledge, the first defendants ordered to serve time behind bars in a case that rewrote Pennsylvania's anti-hazing law.

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall sentenced former Beta Theta Pi members Tuesday for hazing surrounding the death of sophomore engineering major Tim Piazza, 19, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Apple Trees Are Dying, And Researchers Don't Know Why

Apr 2, 2019
An apple tree affected by Rapid Apple Decline.
Kari Peter

A Cornell study published this month found the causes to dying apple trees across the country are still unknown.

“It’s a lot more complicated than picking one pathogen or one climactic condition. I think it’s a multitude of factors," Penn State tree fruit pathologist Kari Peter said. "It’s very, very challenging.”

Peter has been searching for answers since she first noticed dying trees in her research plot in 2013. It’s called Rapid Apple Decline, or in more severe cases, Sudden Apple Decline.

Genaro C. Armas / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Penn State will collect hundreds of thousands of dollars left over from the defunct charity for youth founded by convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, settling claims from a threatened civil lawsuit.
The university and the state attorney general's office both confirmed this week that an agreement was reached recently.
The university said it also will receive additional payments from entities that insured The Second Mile, although the terms are confidential.

Vigil For Victims of Mosque Shootings Held At Penn State

Mar 19, 2019
Zayeem Shaik (left) shared a light with Mohammed Koraichi during the vigil. "I needed this," Shaik said. He said it's difficult to maintain the Muslim identity when there's hatred, but having the community support eased his fears.
Min Xian / WPSU

At Tuesday night's vigil, Yousef Hussain read a passage from the opening chapter of the Koran.

He’s a Penn State junior, a member of the Muslim Student Association, and one of several speakers at last night’s candlelight vigil for the 50 victims of the New Zealand Mosque shootings.

“We should pray and act to change hateful rhetoric and the ensuing hateful violence, and above all, resist the temptation to lose hope," Hussain said.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke visited Penn State University Park on Tuesday and spoke to a crowd of hundreds about how he wants to serve the country.
Min Xian / WPSU

Calling for respect and unity that he said will lead to common ground, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke visited Penn State University Park on Tuesday and spoke to a crowd of hundreds about how he wants to serve the country.

The former congressman from El Paso, Texas, is the first declared presidential candidate for the 2020 race to host a public event in Pennsylvania. Coming from previous stops in critical swing states like Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, O’Rourke said his “grassroots road trip” is really important to him.

This I Believe: I Believe We All Have A Story

Mar 14, 2019
Essayist Molly Smith.
Molly Smith

I believe we all have a story.

I grew up in a small town about 30 miles outside of Harrisburg. When I say small town, I mean we only had one high school with about 60 kids in each graduating class. We had one red light, one Sheetz, one grocery store and a few banks.

We're just a few weeks away from the deadline for the UK to reach an agreement on its plan to leave the European Union. Nearly three years after the infamous Brexit vote, things appear to be as murky as ever.

Rather than trying to predict the future, we invited Penn State's Sons Golder to join us for a conversation about how Brexit originated, and the pros and cons of putting the decision directly in the people's hands. Sona is a comparative politics scholar and co-editor of the British Journal on Political Science.

This I Believe: I Believe In Traveling Alone

Feb 28, 2019
Essayist Shawna Mumma in Italy.
Shawna Mumma

I believe in traveling alone at least once in your life.

I’ll always remember how I felt the morning of December 27, 2014. There were butterflies of excitement in my stomach as I found a window seat near the back of the German train car. I settled in and double-checked that my written itinerary was still in my pocket. The train began to leave the station. Once the pure rush of adrenaline wore off, a feeling of complete shock hit me.

What in the world was I doing? 

Was I prepared to travel through Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and England on my own for two weeks?

Bruce Zinger / Tafelmusik

Thursday night at Penn State, University Park, the Baroque orchestra, Tafelmusik, teams up with Trio Arabica for a concert called "Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House." WPSU's Kristine Allen reports on the show's blend of European and Arabic music, images, and narration.