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What Do Jeff Gordon, The Berkey Creamery, And Eric Barron Have In Common?

Update (11:15 a.m.): Penn State announced a partnership with Axalta Coating Systems with a focus on STEM and business education aimed at students currently studying engineering and business. Students will have the opportunity to have “special learning opportunities” with Gordon and his team at Pocono Raceway.

“The relationship between Penn State and Axalta offers our students the opportunity to learn about careers in business and engineering fields from the leaders of a global player based right here in Pennsylvania,” said President Eric Barron in a Penn State release.  “Helping students toward career success is of critical importance to the Penn State experience, and partnerships such as this are another way of giving our students special, hands-on opportunities to learn about their fields of study and the job market.”

The campus event will include a pep rally and a visit by Gordon where a new paint scheme for his No. 24 car will be unveiled prior to Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400′ at Pocono Raceway.

“Supporting STEM education and future business leaders is vital to our future,” said Gordon. “I depend on the mechanical engineers on my team to make sure that my racecar is in top form for every race. Linking STEM education to the technology behind successful racing is important. I’m proud to partner with Axalta and Penn State on this exciting program.”

***

Calling all conspiracy theorists: The headline is not a rhetorical question.

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will visit the Berkey Creamery sometime between 3:30 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, where President Eric Barron will announce a “major, new university initiative” at a press conference. The Blue Band was also invited to the event. The university has not formally announced the event and officials did not answer questions on the event or the initiative.

Gordon is sponsored by Pepsi, Penn State’s beverage supplier, so the initiative might include a partnership between the company and the university with Gordon acting as the face of Pepsi. Berkey Creamery would surely be a perfect spot to announce a partnership between a beverage company and Penn State.

Upon announcing his retirement from professional racing in January, Gordon said that “outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I’m no longer driving.”

So, Gordon could also be announcing a partnership between the university and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. Founded in 1999, the organization aims “to support children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patients’ quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure,” according to its website.

But the foundation already runs a children’s hospital in Concord, North Carolina, which provides primary and specialty care to children with pediatric cancer “regardless of their ability to pay.” Sound familiar?

Or perhaps, Gordon is announcing he’s coming out of retirement at President Barron’s request to drive a blue and white sports car. Maybe Penn State and Gordon are pairing up to fund a NASCAR racecar sponsored by the university. Or, we might just have the wrong Jeff Gordon.

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

About the Author

Ted Hozza

Ted is a senior majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development, or as his friends here at Onward State like to call it, Architecture. You can probably find him at the Phyrst late at night with other Onward Staters if he's not somewhere else editing articles. You can follow him on Twitter @TedHozza or email him at [email protected]

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