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Penn State Recruits Willard Preacher To Teach Public Speaking

Editor’s note: This story is part of Onward State’s April Fools’ Day series. It is satirical, meant for entertainment, and not to be taken literally. Any quotes were made up for the purpose of this post.

For decades, Penn Staters have gotten used to seeing the Willard Preacher on his stoop outside the Willard Building. This summer, though, he’s shifting indoors to begin an entirely new endeavor.

Penn State has formally recruited Gary Cattell, known to most as the Willard Preacher, to teach CAS 100, according to recently obtained Faculty Senate documents. Cattell will get started with a few sections of the required public speaking course this summer.

The move comes after newly appointed President-elect Neeli Bendapudi spotted Cattell on campus. She’d never heard of him until she toured campus but found his signature presence to be a perfect fit for higher education.

“I simply could not believe my eyes,” Bendapudi told Onward State. “When I saw him, he spoke with such presence and authority — so much so that I knew he was different, and I’ve sat through a lot of speeches. It’s clear we need him to teach and inspire the next generation of Penn State students.”

Bendapudi cited Cattell’s long career as a testament to his passion for public speaking. Such dedication is exactly what she’s looking for once she takes over for President Eric Barron in May.

For now, Cattell says he’s focusing on sharpening his wit before leading a class of open-minded students. Still, he’s a little confused about the job in the first place.

“I didn’t know who [Bendapudi] was when she came up to me. Much to my surprise, she’s going to lead the school soon,” Cattell said outside the Willard Building. “I have no idea why she wants to teach. I spend all my time preaching the Bible to students who don’t listen. But hey, I’ll never turn down an opportunity like this.”

For now, it’s unclear how teaching might cut into Cattell’s regularly scheduled sermons outside the Willard Building. Perhaps he’ll move his talks to Zoom and host them after school hours.

Cattell will conduct a “test run” in class during Penn State’s summer session in June and July. If all goes well, he’ll become a regular CAS 100 instructor by the time the fall semester rolls around.

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves playing his guitar, the color blue, and Tetris. If you feel the need to give him any positive or negative feedback, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]

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