Next PSU generation deserves a united family

To the editor:

I am among the scores of former Penn State students having earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from that remarkable, historic school in Happy Valley. In conversing with countless Penn State alumni, friends, and stakeholders, I have come to realize that many of us share a common perspective: We are all looking forward to moving into o the future, while giving respect to what has happened in the past.

I will never forget the overwhelming feelings of pride, community, and honor I felt when I walked across the stage to receive my degree on graduation day. Somehow there was a real sense of family in that cavernous Bryce Jordan Center.

Unfortunately, I will also never forget the initial flood of emotions I felt after the Sandusky scandal first came to light: Pangs of confusion, embarrassment, and anger. It didn’t take long, however, for the Penn State community to band together to cope with the tragedy. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, it is important to seek help from those unified by a common vision or goal. In this case, those people were the thousands of past, current, and future Penn Staters sharing this experience.

To be successful, we must remain together as one Penn State family. We must move forward with a refreshed sense of pride and unity to raise the standard of educational excellence and civic responsibility, which are inherent to our school, for both existing and future students.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fractures well cured make us more strong.” You don’t need to look much further than this year’s Thon raising a record-breaking $12.3 million for pediatric cancer, or Bill O’Brien leading our football team to an 8-4 record, or the thousands of Penn State students who graduated with an excellent education and a real world understanding of community. Clearly, the dark times are behind us. The positive spirit and enduring dedication of the Penn State family is what kept us together then and is what will keep us together in the future.

Recent times have been challenging, and we still face a difficult future. Some issues have been resolved and hopefully, the rest will soon be as well. It is most important for our university to look forward and move swiftly into the future. The next generation of Penn Staters deserves to enjoy the same sense of pride and community that I, and thousands of others, have been blessed to experience.

Tara Elyssa Merry