Senior columns, with all their melodrama and platitudes, usually leave me eye-rolling and shaking my head with a vigor usually reserved for study abroad blog posts. But, as I graduate a week from today, I figured I should give it a go myself. Rather than discuss the origins of Onward State like Evan, I'd just like to briefly thank a few individuals who have defined my Penn State experience.
It's one of those things about college, like a particularly boozy night or where your freshman writing classroom was, that, looking back in 20 or 30 years, you will not remember, but at the time seem particularly important (especially where the classroom is). Snagging a high-profile commencement speaker, these days, is seen as a sign of cachet, a way to set a university apart. There are slideshows of the best college commencement speakers of 2012. Penn State... will not be on that list.
The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 is one of my favorite pieces of legislation.
A Congress atrophied by the Civil War sent a bill to President Lincoln that, when signed in to law, changed the face of tertiary education in America. In a research report I did in seventh grade about Penn State, discussion of the Morrill Act took up more pages than it probably should have. It made a higher education both affordable and valuable to the common man. This was an Act designed not to increase the number of scholars of law or divinity, but of botany, agriculture, and the "mechanical arts."
Penn State became one of the nation's first land grant institutions.
Students studying abroad and looking to pick up the International Studies (INTST) concurrent major may have to look a little harder to find it. In fact, as of the Summer 2011 term, the major no longer exists. In its place is the new Global and International Studies (GLOBE) major.
As a Penn Stater, there are many rites of passage as we move inevitably down the path to graduation. First fraternity party. First Canyon Pizza. First football game. Last fraternity party (for some, this may be the same as their first). First Peachy Paterno. State Patty’s Day. Until this year, standing in the senior section was one of them. After attending the Indiana State game, Eli thinks it needs to be brought back.
I know I said I wouldn't write about study abroad, but allow me to indulge a bit for this one column. On my program so far, I've met people from a wide range of universities. The schools represented run the gambit from the University of Missouri and the University of Colorado-Boulder to Georgetown and Williams. Course subject matter here ranges from economics and history to film and architecture. The existence of sufficient academic rigor in many study abroad programs, this one included, is debatable however. European pedagogy is different than in the States, and as a result, home universities treat study abroad classes differently.