Penn State

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.

In this file photo, former Penn State President Graham Spanier arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, June 2, 2017.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The man who served as Penn State's president when the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal erupted may soon be headed to jail after Pennsylvania's highest court said it will not take up his appeal.

Penn State THON Raises $10.6 Million For Pediatric Cancer

Feb 18, 2019
Penn State's THON raised more than $10 million for pediatric cancer.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU


Penn State’s student-run dance marathon, or THON, revealed this weekend it raised $10.6 million dollars for pediatric cancer this year.

Thousands of students and spectators gathered in the Bryce Jordan Center for 46 hours to celebrate the fundraising efforts for families and children battling cancer.


One of those families was the Damesheks, who lost their 12-year-old daughter Emilia in 2016. Her mother Natalie gave an emotional speech during the final hours of the event.


Penn State Greek Life Two Years After Piazza's Death

Feb 18, 2019
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

Just over two years ago, Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza died from injuries sustained at an alcohol-fueled bid acceptance party at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.

Penn State took swift action. It permanently banned Beta Theta Pi, halted all fraternity parties and implemented other sanctions meant to make Greek life safer.

Now two years have passed, two new classes of students have arrived, and two years’ worth of new regulations have been instituted. So, what’s changed?

Fraternity member Brannon DeWolf said there’s less partying.

Kyle Hynes' map won first place in the central region's youth division.
Draw the Lines PA / WPSU

Update at noon on Feb. 6, 2019: 

Kyle Hynes won first place statewide in the youth division. The Penn State geography class led by Prof. Chris Fowler won first place statewide in the higher education division.

Original Story:  

He’s not old enough to cast a ballot, but that hasn’t stopped 15-year-old Kyle Hynes from redrawing the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts.

In this file photo, Jim Piazza spoke at a press conference regarding the case on the hazing death of his son Tim. The Piazzas and national Beta Theta Pi reached a settlement on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State is starting a fraternity and sorority research center named in memory of student Timothy Piazza, who died in February 2017 after a night of hazing at a fraternity. 

Penn State said it is giving at least $2 million toward the multidisciplinary research center. It is pledging an additional $3 million in matching money as part of a fundraising campaign for an endowment of at least $8 million dollars.

The scene is familiar to many college students — a party with music, alcohol and drinking games. Before long, one female student seems like she's had too much to drink. 

What would you do in that situation? Incoming Penn State students have to answer questions like that as part of the revamped online course the university rolled out for this semester. The goal was making the course — which covers drinking and sexual violence — more engaging.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

Beginning this year, all Pennsylvania higher education institutions are required to publish hazing reports under the state’s new antihazing law. Penn State released a five-year hazing report on Tuesday, listing hazing violations between 2013 and 2018.

The report from Penn State included 31 hazing incidents. The majority took place on the University Park campus. Altoona, Harrisburg and Behrend campuses also reported hazing.

Penn State Hazing Death Case Plods Ahead, But Pared Down

Jan 10, 2019
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller at podium next to a photo of Timothy Piazza and with his parents in person
Emily Reddy / WPSU

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A string of guilty pleas has left just five defendants still fighting charges in the hazing-related death of a pledge at a Penn State fraternity two years ago, a case whittled down as prosecutors were unable to get the most serious counts to stick.



Penn State Moves To Trademark "Happy Valley"

Jan 2, 2019
AP / Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The valley that is home to the State College area, where the Penn State University Park Campus is located, is sometimes called "Happy Valley." Now Penn State wants to ensure it holds the trademark on the Happy Valley name.

The Centre Daily Times reported Wednesday the university asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month to trademark the term that refers to the school's setting in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

A Penn State student died of an overdose earlier this year. Last Friday, the man who sold him those drugs received his sentence.
Min Xian / WPSU

A Penn State student died of an overdose earlier this year. On Friday, the man who sold him those drugs received his sentence.

William Denton, from Raleigh, NC, died of a multi-drug overdose in his campus dorm room in January. The 19-year-old Penn State sophomore had bought what he thought was heroin—but which an autopsy showed was a combination of drugs including methylfentanyl—from Mark Grover, of Verona, PA. Grover pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony of drug delivery resulting in death in October.

Chabad of Penn State hosted the university's 18th annual menorah lighting on the University Park campus on Wednesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Chabad of Penn State hosted the university’s 18th annual menorah lighting on the University Park campus on Wednesday.

Runners on Musser Greenway path
Penn State

Penn State has announced that it is “investigating ways to conserve” a 365-acre property between Rothrock State Park and the future Whitehall Road Regional Park. 

That farmland could be home to passive uses like walking trails, under plans Penn State is developing with ClearWater Conservancy.

The university announced Tuesday it has committed to a passive-use, conservation-based approach for the property. A spokesman said the university plans to “return the land to a more natural state that helps to promote biodiversity and protect the water.”

Josh Woda helped lead the study into methane contamination linked to fracking.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

Nobody wants methane in their water.

“They saw when it gets to about 28 milligrams per liter, it could start degassing to a point where it could explode,” Josh Woda said.

In Lycoming county, Woda and other Penn State researchers found levels of methane much higher than that in a recent study into the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling.

But, because some methane can occur in water naturally, it’s been hard to say if its presence is a result of a natural process, or hydraulic fracturing – until Woda’s study.

Meredith Doran played a key role in creating the Global Engagment Community.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

During Meredith Doran’s time working with international students at Penn State, she noticed a need for greater global engagement on campus.

“The global has kind of arrived on campus, and yet we don’t have a lot structures in place that kind of facilitate sharing cultures with each other, sharing languages with each other, especially for undergrads.”

Doran is the director of the English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center. She helped create the Global Engagement Community, a special living option opening next fall on the fourth floor of Beaver Hall.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

The great, great, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, is an author, lecturer and award-winning travel writer. She also has a masters degree in art history. She is on Penn State’s University Park Campus Thursday, December 6th to give a talk on “Dickens and Christmas,” at 4:00 in Paterno Library. She spoke with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about the publication of “A Christmas Carol.”

A screenshot of the Penn State study's live result map shows that only a fraction of the state meets the F.C.C.'s standard for high-speed broadband internet.

Statewide research from Pennsylvania State University finds that there’s a severe lack of connectivity to high-speed broadband internet for much of Pennsylvania. The preliminary results of the study suggest that the problem is far worse than experts initially estimated.

Using data self-reported from internet providers, the Federal Communications Commission estimates about 800,000 Pennsylvanians lack access to broadband, which is about six percent of the state’s population.

Penn State Study Finds Five Types Of Problem Drinking

Dec 4, 2018
The Penn State study looked at five different types of problem drinking.
Penn State

A new Penn State study found there are five types of problem drinking that mostly align with certain age groups. 

The study aimed to find how alcohol use disorder differs for people at different ages. Using data from about 5,400 participants aged 18 to 64, researchers found five “profiles” of problem drinking.

Two people discussing voting machine
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Patrick McDaniel  said elections in the United States have historically been fair and secure, but there are challenges.

McDaniel is the Weiss Professor of Information and Communications Technology at Penn State and one of the organizers of the Symposium on Election Security, held Monday at the Penn Stater Conference Center. At a time when the integrity of elections is in the headlines, the conference drew experts and national leaders in election security.