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Lion Ambassadors Open Old Main To The Public

The Penn State Lion Ambassadors offered students a unique experience Wednesday as they held their annual Old Main Open House, opening up the university’s most prestigious building to the public in a not-so-serious setting while dropping some Penn State knowledge on those who attended.

After chowing down on some delicious Clem’s Barbecue, students were split off into groups to tour Old Main which was actually the second structure to go by that name at Penn State. The first was torn down in 1929 after it was deemed structurally unsound. The Old Main where G-Span does his day-to-day business today was built the following year.

After entering the administrative building and walking up the steps to the second floor, tourists were met by the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who spoke of the Morrill Land-Grant Act which allowed for the creation of Penn State. Back then, it was called The Farmer’s High School of Pennsylvania.

Other members of Penn State’s past we met along the way included former University presidents George Atherton and Evan Pugh, Old Coaly, fresco painter Henry Varnum Poor, former baseball player and Nittany Lion mascot creator Joe Mason, and an underclassman from the 1800s who was normally bullied by the upperclassman and made to wear a dink, not walk on the grass and play “pushball.”

The best part of the tour, however, was the trip to the bell tower. The walk up was a challenge for my 240-pound, broad-shouldered self as the staircase was not made for the big-bodied or the claustrophobic. Once the ascent was made, tourists were welcomed to a sight of campus that they would not be able to get anywhere else. Although Wednesday was dreary and drizzly, looking out over Old Main lawn from the tower is a sight I will never want to forget.

When asked why the Lion Ambassadors put on this Open House, tour guide Adam Miller told me that they love talking about the history of this building that people walk by everyday but really know little about.

“People take this building for granted just because it has become a normal sight on their walks around campus everyday. We are looking to instill knowledge about this landmark and the history of the campus as well,” Miller said.

For those wondering, Old Main is actually open to the public and makes for a great study space. If you are still an underclassman, this is one experience to definitely enjoy before your time runs out at Dear Old State.

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About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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