State College Names Walkway After Late Tavern Owner Pat Daugherty

A much-used pedestrian path in downtown State College will be renamed to honor a beloved pillar of the local community who passed away in November.

The State College Borough Council voted unanimously on Monday night to rename the vacated portion of McAllister Alley connecting East Calder Way and East College Avenue as Pat Daugherty Walkway.

Daugherty owned The Tavern Restaurant, 220 E. College Ave., for 40 years after purchasing it with partner Bill Tucker in 1980. The walkway — previously referred to as Centennial Walkway — runs alongside The Tavern.

“I think it’s very deserved,” Councilwoman Theresa Lafer said. “I think it would kind of tickle him and I think it’s a nice way to keep his memory alive. He really made a difference in our community for many decades, and that’s rare for any place.”

The resolution adopted by council directs borough staff to place “appropriate signage” along the walkway.

A licensed professional engineer who worked at The Tavern while earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Penn State, Daugherty was renowned for creating a family atmosphere at the restaurant.

“Mr. Daugherty treated his employees and Tavern guests like they were all special,” the resolution stated. “It was not unusual that multiple generations from the same family worked at the Tavern, and Pat always remembered them and spoke fondly of them.”

He was not only the face of The Tavern, but for many, the face of downtown State College. He was a prominent advocate for the local business community, serving on the Downtown State College Improvement District board of directors and helping to grow the organization after helping lead its predecessor, the Downtown Business Association.

Daugherty sold The Tavern building in January 2020 but continued as the restaurant’s operator, overseeing renovations to the 73-year-old restaurant and its reopening earlier this year.

Pat Daugherty at The Tavern in 2020. (Photo: Darren Andrew Weimert | Town&Gown)

He was an avid supporter of numerous organizations and causes throughout State College and at Penn State, lending his time, resources, and financial support to, among others, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Mount Nittany Medical Center, the Nittany Valley Symphony, Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, THON, the Penn State College of Engineering and Penn State Athletics, for which The Tavern established two scholarships in women’s athletics, as well as helping to establish an endowment to support freestyle wrestling.

In 1999, Penn State named Daugherty its Renaissance Fund honoree, an annual tribute to an individual or couple for a lifetime of service to the Penn State and State College communities through philanthropy and civic leadership.

Contributions to the Renaissance Fund endowed three scholarships: one in Daugherty’s name, another in honor of his mother, Dorothy Kellogg Daugherty, and the third in the name of The Tavern Alumni Association.

In 2019, Daugherty received the James Madison Award for civility in the community during the Constitution Day Centre Celebration.

“Pat was more than a restaurant owner. He contributed to the community in countless ways,” council’s resolution stated. “What set him apart was how much he cared about the people of State College and Penn State.

“Lucky customers, friends, colleagues and students learned a bit of history from Pat’s stories. Yet it was his listening skills that made him so special. He knew what people wanted and he worked to bring different viewpoints together. He was patient, persistent, and spent decades cultivating and furthering town and gown relationships. He stood for everything that makes downtown State College special, vibrant and better.”

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Geoff Rushton (

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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