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Penn State’s Curt Chandler Memorial Service Set For February 25

Update, 9:30 p.m.: Chandler’s memorial service will now begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, February 25. The ceremony moved back one hour to dodge Penn State’s campus closure due to forecasted snow and ice.

Original Story: Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications will gather on Friday, February 25, to honor the life of beloved professor Curt Chandler.

Chandler, who died at 64 on January 31 following a private battle with pancreatic cancer, taught multimedia and entrepreneurial journalism at Penn State for 15 years. The university will honor him with a memorial service starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 25, in 113 Carnegie, which will stream online, too. A brief reception will follow at 5 p.m.

During the memorial service, faculty, staff, students, and community members will be invited to share stories about Chandler’s profound impact on Penn State.

“Those of you who had the chance to learn from him know: He was generous, he was enthusiastic, and he was connected and current,” Bellisario Dean Marie Hardin wrote in an email to students announcing Chandler’s passing in February. “He was the kind of teacher who made a difference in the lives of students he taught, making himself available around the clock. He encouraged you to stretch your imagination and do work you never dreamed you could do.”

Before teaching at Penn State, Chandler worked as an award-winning photojournalist for outlets across Colorado, Utah, and Ohio before settling down as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s director of photography, later becoming the paper’s first editor for online innovation. He was a founding faculty member of Penn State’s Keystone Multimedia Workshop in 2007.

At Penn State, Chandler taught COMM 271 (Principles of Journalism), COMM 481 (Advanced Multimedia Production), and COMM 361 (Entrepreneurial Journalism). He also helped lead efforts for the Centre Film Festival and extracurricular ventures like Centre News Digest.

“Curt’s enthusiasm for journalism was matched only by his enthusiasm for his students. He was full of great story ideas, and he pushed his students to do their best work,” said Russ Eshleman, associate teaching professor and journalism department head. “No matter if it was along a rural stretch of Potter County, in the hubbub of a Baltimore neighborhood or the streets of Hong Kong, he always looked for ways to help students succeed.”

Chandler consistently advocated for student media, including once-up-and-coming projects like Onward State. Over the years, he profoundly impacted the lives and careers of countless Onward Staters.

“Curt Chandler was a supporter of Onward State for as long as there’s been an Onward State,” co-founder Davis Shaver said.

Chandler is survived by his wife, Stacie Lynn Paulsen Chandler; his four children; his three grandchildren; as well as his sister and brother. An obituary written by the Bellisario College is available online.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Bellisario College’s Chandler Grant for Storytelling or the Family House in Pittsburgh, according to the college.

“We are, after all, a stronger and better community because of Curtis William Chandler,” Hardin wrote to students earlier this month.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ( or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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