‘Penn State Lives Here’ Won’t Kill That Other Campus Memory

More than $50 million in University legal fees. At least 52 counts of child molestation spanning 15 years. All from one repugnant and malevolent human being that has a special and infernal place in the bowels of hell with his name on it.

That is the summary of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that rocked this nation and nearly demolished Penn State University.

The rally cry heard across Happy Valley as always been “We are…Penn State.” However, that cry has been muted insurmountably because in most Americans’ minds, we are not Penn State.

Needless to say, the mile-wide skidmark Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno left on that once-esteemed university makes that campus squawk more of a reminder of the past than the pride of the present. 

Faculty know this. Students hate this. And now, the ivory towers has done something to change this. Whelp, kinda.

The university has officially rolled out its new branding campaign, Penn State Lives Here. I get the wording — in essence, what is here now should be the merit of the campus.

The goal is to place the spotlight on how Penn State impacts students in a classroom as well as its surrounding communities, offered Allison Goodin, assistant director of university relations at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus.

“A unifying message like Penn State Lives Here gives the university the ability to communicate to all of its constituents in a clear and consistent way,” Goodin said.

Of course, sensing the looming cynicism, Goodin said the research for the re-branding effort started at least a year before charges were filed against PSU’s former football coach and pending altar boy for Mephistopheles. Naturally, the delay was based on due diligence.

“We know people might see it as reactionary, but it’s not,” Goodin said. “The effort took a few years of researching that involved interviewing students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members on how Penn State impacts communities. It was part of the university’s strategic plan.”

Yeah. We know, we know. And JoePa knew nothing. Oh, and Sandusky pleading “not guilty” was the honorable thing to do. Listen, I applaud the effort to rebrand this prestigious university but it might be too soon. People who are sentimental to Happy Valley will go to school there because they love the place. People who have worked with Penn State will continue to do so because it is a great place for academics.

That said, the Sandusky stench is still wafting in the air and memories of that magnitude linger much longer than two short years. May I recommend a grassroots campaign before your corner office decides on taking the act on the road?

If not, it will be just a matter of time before you get more hate mail that poses the question, “On a scale from Jerry Sandusky to Casey Anthony, how much do you look out for the children?”