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While You Were Away On Winter Break…

Welcome back to campus, Penn Staters!

After a much-needed winter break, we’re back in the full swing of things for the spring 2023 semester. Hopefully, you took the time off to relax and now feel refreshed as you return to Happy Valley for the next few months. We all know there won’t be much relaxation until May, folks.

While you were catching up with family during the holidays or hanging out on some boujee island, you may have missed some of the happenings back here at Penn State and in State College. Luckily for you, you can catch up on everything you missed by reading on.

News

  • Country music singer Walker Hayes will perform at the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday, April 27, as part of his “Duck Buck” tour. Hayes will be joined by special guests Ingrid Andress and Ray Fulcher, who will perform before him. Hayes will be one of many performers to make their way to the Bryce Jordan Center this year, joining the likes of Carrie Underwood, Journey, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, Casting Crowns, and Thomas Rhett.
  • Dozens of Penn State faculty members signed a letter responding to Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi’s November 29 recommendation of unifying the university’s two accredited law schools — Penn State Law at University Park and Dickinson Law. The letter recommends that Penn State keep the two law schools separate. Since then, Penn State announced that a panel consisting of stakeholders from both of Penn State’s law schools is being formed to develop recommended structures for a unified law school.
  • Penn State’s annual #GivingTuesday event raised over $1.25 million this year through more than 13,170 gifts and 150 campaigns. This year featured the largest showing to date, as 10,746 alumni, faculty, staff, students, and families participated.
  • Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) Associate Vice President Charlie Noffsinger announced in mid-December that he’d retire from his role on December 31. He had served in his position since 2016. Wesley Sheets, UPPS executive deputy chief of operations, is currently serving as the interim chief of police and public safety.
  • Lock Boutique, a Bellefonte-based women’s clothing store, announced it’s moving to State College this month. The store is set to open its doors at 216 E. College Ave. in the former location of Ethereal Boutique.
  • Penn State football legend and NFL Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris passed away at the age of 72. Harris played at Penn State for three years under Joe Paterno from 1969-1971 and tallied 2,002 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns in Happy Valley before being selected in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many in the Penn State community paid tribute to Harris, including Pat Kraft and James Franklin.
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe is coming to State College, folks. The smoothie joint plans to open a new location under The Maxxen, which is located at 131 Hiester Street, according to a Facebook post.
  • Before we headed into 2023, we took a look back at Penn State’s 2022 through photos.
  • A 22-year-old Penn State senior, Nicholas Feinstein, died on Saturday, December 31, in an avalanche that occurred in Colorado. Feinstein was skiing with his father, University of Northern Colorado President Andy Feinstein, when the avalanche took place outside the Breckenridge ski resort boundary. Feinstein was expected to graduate this spring with a degree in enterprise technology integration.
  • This is for you Bachelor fans. Penn State alumna Cara Ammon will compete against 30 women in search of love in the upcoming season of the hit TV show “The Bachelor.” The 27th season of “The Bachelor” will premiere at 8 p.m. on Monday, January 23, on ABC.
  • The South Garner Street Starbucks will permanently close at 7 p.m. on January 15. Its relocation site, located at 150 S. Pugh St., is set to open sometime in May.

Sports

  • Penn State football long snapper Chris Stoll won the Mannelly Award, which is annually given to the nation’s best long snapper. Stoll, who was one of 10 finalists for the award, became the first Nittany Lion to ever take home the honor.
  • Safety Ji’Ayir Brown took home Penn State football’s team MVP award at the State College Quarterback Club’s annual banquet. Additionally, true freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen split the team’s offensive MVP honor.
  • Three-star defensive end Joseph Mupoyi announced his commitment to Penn State football’s Class of 2023 on December 12 — at the time making him the 20th recruit to verbally commit to James Franklin’s 2023 class.
  • The 2023 Blue-White Game will kick off on Saturday, April 15, at Beaver Stadium. Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Blue-White Game returned last season and attracted over 62,000 fans with a new format.
  • Penn State star cornerback Joey Porter Jr. was named an AP second-team All-American following his dominant final season in Happy Valley. Porter, who now has his sights set on the NFL after opting out of the Rose Bowl, totaled 27 tackles and 11 pass breakups this season.
  • Three-star defensive lineman Mason Robinson flipped his commitment from Northwestern to Penn State just a day after Mupoyi announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions. Robinson selected Penn State over Notre Dame and Tennessee, among others.
  • College basketball insider Jon Rothstein reported that Penn State men’s basketball will play in the 2023 ESPN Invitational as part of its 2023-24 schedule. The Nittany Lions will join the likes of Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Butler, Texas A&M, VCU, and Boise State in the tournament.
  • Lady Lions legend Lisa (Shepherd) Stidham will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 29, at the 21st annual Women’s Awards Banquet. Stidham played for the Lady Lions from 1997 to 2001 and helped her squad win a Big Ten Tournament Championship.
  • Penn State football signal-caller Sean Clifford was named a finalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, which annually recognizes a player who shows “exemplary leadership both on and off the field.” Clifford is one of three finalists, joining Pitt defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre and Oregon offensive lineman Alex Forsyth. The winner will be announced in Frisco, Texas, on February 23. 
  • Two Penn State sports team announced their schedules for the upcoming season. Penn State baseball will begin its season on February 17, while women’s lacrosse will start on February 11.
  • Four-star linebacker Kaveion Keys flipped his commitment from North Carolina to Penn State, joining an impressive 2023 linebacker class that already included four-stars Tony Rojas and Ta’Mere Robinson. Just three days after Keys’ commitment, three-star athlete/running back Cameron Wallace joined the Nittany Lions’ Class of 2023.
  • Former FAU punter Riley Thompson announced his transfer to James Franklin’s program. Thompson, who is from Australia, will come to Happy Valley with one year of eligibility remaining.
  • A few Penn State football players declared for the NFL Draft while also stating they would play in the Nittany Lions’ Rose Bowl matchup. Nick Tarburton, Juice Scruggs, and Brenton Strange all have their eyes set on the NFL with the Rose Bowl now in the rearview mirror.
  • Former Penn State quarterback Christian Veilleux transferred to the University of Pittsburgh with up to three years of eligibility remaining. A former four-star recruit, Veilleux committed to Penn State in April 2020 and threw for 282 passing yards and three touchdowns during his two seasons with the program.
  • Former Penn State defensive lineman Rodney McGraw announced his transfer to Louisville. McGraw, a former three-star recruit, has three years of eligibility left with the Cardinals.
  • The Lady Lions debuted a children’s book, titled “Can I Play?” on December 21 that focuses on diversity and inclusion. It was written as a collaborative effort by members of the Penn State women’s basketball team, with the cover featuring three children playing basketball.
  • Four Nittany Lions — Trace McSorley, Nick Scott, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Cam Brown — all sported THON-themed cleats as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative. The cleats will be auctioned off or already have been, and all proceeds will go toward THON and Four Diamonds, the charity’s sole beneficiary.
  • Penn State football had its early signing day that saw 22 recruits officially become Nittany Lions. The only player who was verbally committed to the 2023 class that didn’t end up signing was safety Conrad Hussey, who flipped to Florida State.
  • Trace McSorley made his first career NFL start in the Cardinals’ Christmas Day game against the Bucs. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned for the Penn State legend, and the Cardinals lost 19-16 in overtime.
  • Micah Parsons, Saquon Barkley, and Miles Sanders will represent Penn State and their respective NFL teams in the 2023 Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas. The three Nittany Lions have been crucial to their teams’ success, as the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys all made the playoffs this season.
  • Quite a few Penn State student-athletes earned recognition for their impressive play over the break. Wrestling’s Max Dean and men’s basketball’s Jalen Pickett each earned Big Ten Player of the Week nods, while women’s hockey swept the weekly CHA awards last week.
  • Former North Carolina corner Storm Duck (yes, that’s his name) announced his commitment to Penn State. In his four seasons with North Carolina, Duck racked up 103 tackles, five interceptions, and a defensive touchdown. He earned second-team All-ACC honors this past season.
  • In case you forgot, Penn State went to, and won, the Rose Bowl. There are far too many stories to attach here, but you can see all of our Rose Bowl content by checking out our Rose Bowl hub, which features photos, stories, and all the news from The Granddaddy of Them All.
  • Former Penn State cornerback Jeffrey Davis Jr. is heading to Stony Brook with three years of eligibility remaining.
  • With 2022 in the books, we made a list of the top 10 Penn State sports moments of the year. Cael Sanderson’s group may have taken home the No. 1 ranking on our list.
  • Moments after Penn State’s Rose Bowl victory, wideout Devin Carter announced his transfer to the Nittany Lions. Carter, who transferred from NC State, has one season of eligibility left.
  • One of Onward State’s football writers — fifth-year senior Ryan Parsons — said goodbye to Onward State and college from the press box following the Nittany Lions’ Rose Bowl victory over Utah. During his time with Onward State, Parsons handled several different roles, including social media manager, three years as a football beat writer, and he was an associate editor to close out his OS tenure.
  • Penn State football linebacker and special teams ace Domininc DeLuca was placed on scholarship. DeLuca, who arrived at Penn State as a walk-on in January of 2021, appeared in all 13 games for Penn State this year and totaled 29 tackles, two for a loss, and a sack while serving as a rotational defensive player and an integral special teams piece.
  • Penn State defensive lineman Fatorma Mulbah entered the transfer portal with three years of eligibility remaining.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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