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about 2 months ago

State of State Announces First Round of Speakers

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The inaugural State of State conference is just around the corner, and if the caliber of the first round of speakers is any indication, we’re in for a treat.

The Leadership Committee announced the first six speakers this morning as part of a 10 a.m.-4 p.m. event on the ground floor of the HUB (topics provided by State of State).

  • Sam Richards – Popular Professor of Sociology, teaches SOC119, co-director of the World In Conversation project. Richards will talk about dialogue as the starting point for action: basically, he wants to talk about how to talk.
  • Michael Bérubé – Professor of English, ex-Paterno Chair of Literature, gained attention for this Chronicle article explaining why he resigned the Paterno Family Professorship in Literature. Bérubé will talk about how the withdrawal of state funding for public higher education has offloaded the costs of college onto individual students and families, construing education as a private investment rather than a public good.
  • Rob Nellis – (Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering ’13) Former Nittany Lion mascot. The Nittany Lion Mascot during the Sandusky Scandal, Nellis will speak about the role of mascots, symbols, and individual identities during a scandal, and how–although Old Main, Beaver Stadium, the Joe Paterno statue, and other Penn State symbols took on connotations of institutional guilt–the Nittany Lion mascot remained untainted.
  • Shane McGregor – (Journalism and English ’13) – former Penn State quarterback, known for “the flow.” McGregor will candidly take us through his analysis of the feelings, thoughts, and actions that occurred among Penn State football team during and after the Sandusky Scandal.
  • Mimi Barash Coppersmith — (Communications ’54) Penn State Board of Trustees Emerita, first female BoT president, Distinguished Alumna. Coppersmith will start a conversation about symbiotic town and gown relations by framing it not as a a hostile standoff, but rather as “One Team.”
  • Ruth Mendum — Director, Undergraduate Fellowship Office. Mendum will speak on the immense increase in resources for higher education in the 21st century, and how students can best take advantage of what is available to them in order to get the most out of their education.

This is the first year for the new student-organized State of State conference, which will take place on March 30 at Alumni Hall in the HUB. State of State is essentially a TED conference focused specifically on issues that Penn State faces — as they put it, it will bring together and promote dialogue in the Penn State community around the theme of “Past, Present, Progress.” Free tickets are available on Eventbrite, and you can check out SoS on Twitter and Facebook.

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