Penn State Alumnus Mulls Presidential Bid
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced yesterday during a Republican National Committee conference call that he was considering running for President of the United States in the upcoming 2012 election. He stated
“the dynamic has changed. A lot of folks who might not have thought about running against an incumbent president” are now considering it.
Now normally when somebody mentions that they might be running for president, the public goes “okay” and continues on with the rest of their lives. What makes this quasi-announcement noteworthy, to the Penn State community especially, is that Sen. Santorum is a Penn State Alumni. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Penn State as well as a Jurist Doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law. Because of Sen. Santorum’s strong connection to Penn State, it brings up the following question: what effect would having a Penn Stater in the White House have on our university? This is a question that not many schools have seen the answer to. Only 31 schools, according to Wikipedia, can claim Presidents as undergraduate alumni and only one Big Ten School (University of Michigan – Gerald Ford).
Having a President as an Alumni automatically boosts a university’s reputation, being able to list a President as an alumni gives a university a major marketing tool. The possibility of getting a shot of a President wearing a sweatshirt or hat from their alma mater would give that university an easy go-to for recruiting new students and attracting donors. Another way that a Presidential alumni could be a help is with a possible increase in federal funding for research and operating costs. (As of right now, according to Penn State Live, Penn State has been awarded $51 million in federal stimulus funding). With a President on their side, a university could push for more funding and most likely be successful.
If Rick Santorum becomes a serious contender for the White House in 2012, it will result in positive exposure for Penn State, regardless of whether or not he defeats President Obama.