A Spring Update From President Erickson

Penn State President Rodney Erickson, once notorious for the frequency of his e-mails, sent out a final spring message this morning to every Penn State student. The e-mail praises Penn Staters for their efforts and conduct since the incidents in November, and outlines several recent achievements that he is particularly proud of. Here’s the e-mail for all the non-students:

A Message From President Rodney Erickson

As we approach commencement and all the related celebrations, I’m sure everyone is ready to breathe a collective sigh of relief. It has been a difficult year, and I appreciate your dedication and goodwill through it all. Even more than that, I appreciate your patience as I’ve sent you several communications discussing difficult issues; describing the initiatives we’ve put in place; and outlining changes designed to address the serious issue of child sexual abuse (for the latest information, visit

So for my last email of the semester, I’d like to shift my focus to your efforts as the Penn State community, and your remarkable achievements. Consider just a few recent examples.

Students going above and beyond: THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, set a new record, raising $10.7 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Penn State students captured the national championship in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program, the National Weather Challenge, the NCAA wrestling championship and the NDA Collegiate Dance Championship. The Daily Collegian turned 125 years old; students took top honors in the national EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition; while other students are racing to get their vehicle to the moonin the Google X Lunar Competition. Plus, congratulations to nearly 13,000 graduates in the class of 2012!

Recognition for renowned faculty: Penn State faculty members won prestigious awards in their professions. Lori Ginzberg (history/women’s studies), Nina Jablonski (anthropology) and David Rosenbaum (psychology) received 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer (chemistry) was named our most recent Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Jainendra Jain (physics), James Kasting (geosciences) and Bruce Logan (environmental engineering) were named Evan Pugh Professors; and Richard Hogg (mineral processing/geo-environmental engineering) was elected to the National Academy of EngineeringLinda Patterson Miller (English) at Penn State Abington, finished her term as the 2011-12 Penn State Laureate, and Christopher Staley (art) has been named next year’s Laureate. Meanwhile, members of our world-class faculty have continued their focus on excellence in teaching and research, serving our state, the nation and the world.

Staff making a difference: Penn State staff members are the glue that holds Penn State together, and they’re outstanding professionals in their own right. Many chair and serve on the boards of the professional organizations in their disciplines, advise Penn State student groups, volunteer for community organizations, and show Penn State pride in many ways — large and small. I had the privilege of recognizing several individuals in the Faculty Staff Awards ceremony, and I’d like to remind everyone to take a moment to thank those individuals in your unit for their hard work.

Achieving Alumni: Our alumni are leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs, and they’re giving back to society and Penn State through their time, talents, financial support and loyalty. Penn State Trustee Kenneth Frazier ’75, chairman, president and CEO of Merck, was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in recognition of his business, corporate and philanthropic leadership. On a recent campus visit IST alumnus, CEO and co-founder of Weebly, David Rusenko ’07, shared his insights and success with Penn State students through lectures, discussions, and a $400,000 gift to establish a student scholarship. He is not alone. This year thousands of alumni have donated countless hours to our campuses, and they’ve generously contributed financially as well. This commitment to Penn State is nothing short of inspiring.

Thank you for all you do, and I hope you’ll enjoy safe travels and a productive, relaxing summer. See you next semester!

President Rodney Erickson

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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