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Feature Articles

11 November, 2012

Fletcher Gill learned all about philanthropy at Penn State now he’s putting that education to use in our nation’s capital

By Kenny Cara, (Kenny@outsidethelions.com)

It was week three of the Penn State football season and the Penn State Nittany Lions just beat the Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy. Before the season new Penn State football coach Bill O’ Brien said the team would stay on the field after every home game and sing the school’s alma mater near the student section with fans and the Blue Band. After forgetting about this new tradition in week one something very interesting happened in week three. Before going to the student section the Nittany Lions went over to Navy’s band and joined the Midshipmen and their fans in singing the Naval Academy’s alma mater. And then the magical moment continued when the two teams ran, together, to the other end zone and sang the Penn State Alma Mater. That was Military Appreciation Day at Beaver Stadium and the charity Luke’s Wings, co-founded by a Penn State alum, made sure United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was part of the crowd.



10 October, 2012

WE ARE...

  • The Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues paying organization of its kind in the world.
  • With nearly 600,000 alumni, you’ll find Penn Staters in every state in the union and in numerous countries around the world.
  • More than 80,000 students in 160 majors at 17 colleges and 23 campuses throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Penn State World Campus ranks as the number one online institution in the Top 25 Online Colleges and Universities and expands the geographic reach of Penn State globally.
  • Penn State Ranks 49th in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities.
  • Penn State ranks as the top producer of Fulbright scholars among research institutions -- and all institutions, as well -- in the nation.
  • The Wall Street Journal Ranks Penn State #1 with corporate recruiters.
  • Penn State consistently ranks near the top among NCAA institutions for student athlete graduation rates.
29 September, 2012

Justin Kurpeikis Was A Defensive Star, Now He’s Helping A Charity Go On The Offensive

By Kenny Cara, (Kenny@outsidethelions.com)

As a stand-out defensive player at Penn State Justin Kurpeikis played alongside some great athletes. Kurpeikis, who was named to the All-Big Ten first team in the year 2000, played with the likes of LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown and that’s just to name a few. He was on the Lions roster when Arrington leaped over the Illinois defensive line to make a tackle. Kurpeikis witnessed, at ground level, the amazing “LaVar Leap,” and he saw how the human body could do such special things. He also saw how things could go terribly wrong. Kurpeikis was also on the roster when Adam Taliaferro was paralyzed after a hit at Ohio State during the 2000 season. “The day Adam got hurt is one of those days you try to block out of your mind going forward, because you still have to finish the game, then practice and play the next week etc. The worst thing you can do is let something like that be in your thoughts; it would destroy your ability to play the game. However, I can assure you there was a helpless and sickening feeling that day and the following days, it makes you question a lot of things,” Kurpeikis said.

5 August, 2012

By: Kenny Cara with Rick Sayles
(kenny@outsidethelions.com)

It’s quiet for an Arts Fest Friday in downtown State College. There are people using chalk to create art on the dark asphalt of Heister Street. Each artist pays for a small square on the street and they can create anything they like in that space. Above the artists sitting on the hot street is a large mural showcasing people who have made a positive impact on the world from the State College community. A young woman is showing the mural to an older man. She points first to Joe Paterno. The coach stares past them into the distance. The young woman then leads the man a few steps down the street and points to where Jerry Sandusky used to sit in the mural. It’s the day after the release of the Freeh report and while life is moving on in State College, the report has had an impact. You can feel the pain but you can also see the perseverance. On the street one of the chalk filled squares says, “Live, Love, Penn State.”

20 June, 2012

By Kenny Cara, (Kenny@outsidethelions.com)

Scott Shirley is surrounded by Penn State football players. Just a few years ago he was one of them. Just a few years ago he was in college, playing football and working toward his engineering degree. On this day he’s back on campus to talk to the next generation of football players about his charity Uplifting Athletes and the annual Lift for Life event at Penn State to benefit it. Many of the players don’t know who Shirley is but they all know about Lift for Life. “I asked how many participate in Lift for Life and one kid said we all do it’s a tradition,” Shirley said. Tradition is a strong word at Penn State; you don’t just throw it around. Penn Staters are weary of passing fads and buying into something they don’t truly believe in. Lift for Life is a relatively new tradition at Penn State when you compare it to THON, guarding the Lion Shrine, or the Victory Bell, but it has earned its place. It’s a tradition that totally changed the direction of Shirley’s life. “I grew-up building tree houses. My dream was to be an engineer and I achieved that. I left my dream to do Uplifting Athletes,” Shirley says as he reflects on the past 10 years of his life working full-time with the non-profit group he started with two other Penn State football players Dave Costlow and Damone Jones.

21 May, 2012

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