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Former Penn State Student to Speak at State Theatre

Towns often take pride in celebrities and public figures whose early lives and development occurred within. However, some townsfolk who achieve a great deal of success manage to slip through the cracks of notoriety. That may be the case for Ben Feller, the next writer to speak at Penn State’s Foster Conference of Distinguished Writers.

Raised in Boalsburg, Feller attended Penn State and graduated with a degree in journalism. Impressive as a Penn State diploma may be, that’s not the source of his star status. One name propels Feller to prominence: Barack Obama.

Reporting on all facets of Obama’s presidency is a daily task for Feller, as he is the chief White House correspondent for the Associated Press. Although many in State College are aware of Feller’s achievements, especially due to his cover story in the May/June 2009 issue of the Penn Stater, he still seems to be flying under the radar. That could change once Feller returns on March 29 for the Foster Conference.

While his topic of discussion hasn’t been revealed, it seems a large crowd is expected to be in attendance for his return home. Instead of the usual HUB auditorium location, Feller will speak at the State Theatre in downtown State College at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Although popcorn is usually reserved for movies, there is potential for the night to be full of snack-worthy White House stories. Whether it’s the Houston Chronicle’s mention of President Bush’s concern for an illness-ridden Feller during a flight on Air Force One, or his own scramble to cover President Obama’s impromptu lunch at a burger joint, Feller is certain to give the audience an inside look at their country’s leaders.

After graduating from Penn State in 1992, Feller spent time as a reporter for the Centre Daily Times. According to the Associated Press’ website, he joined the AP in 2003 and was offered the main White House correspondent position in 2010 after “an extraordinary year in which [he] won two major awards for presidential coverage,” the Merriman Smith Award and the Gerald R. Ford journalism prize.

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