Ivy Leaf - Winter 2010

From the Editor's Desk

A good friend of mine recently loaned me Mitch Albom's newest book, Have a Little Faith. For those of you unfamiliar with this nonfiction work, it chronicles, in part, Albom's relationship with his childhood rabbi, who has asked Albom to deliver his eulogy upon his death. The pair had many philosophical conversations over a number of years, but one in particular struck a note with me.

Albom asked the learned man what the secret to happiness is. The rabbi replied, "Be satisfied ... Be grateful." Regardless of one's faith — or lack thereof — I think that there is something to be said for this simple formula. So as we close out 2009 and begin 2010, I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect on that for which I am grateful at Penn State Altoona.

First and foremost, in this challenging economic year, I am grateful to have a job. And not just any job, but a job at Penn State Altoona - where I am valued, challenged, and fulfilled. I am grateful to work with, and have our college lead by, a passionate, intelligent, and dedicated chancellor, Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. I am grateful to work with colleagues whom I respect and often call my friends.

I also am grateful for our faculty, so many of whom could have chosen to work at other academic institutions, but who chose to come to Penn State Altoona and make our college a better learning environment for our students. These faculty members engage students in community service and scholarly research, help them find internships and jobs, and serve as mentors and role models.

And, of course, for our students. This issue merely highlights some of the remarkable people who chose to pursue their studies at Penn State Altoona — like Cecilia Houser who, despite significant obstables, ran for mayor of her hometown. And Adrianne Brown and Jessalyn Kenner, who took on a challenging community service project with female inmates at the Blair County Prison. Interviewing these students made me proud to be a part of Penn State Altoona and invigorated my passion for my role at the college.

To our local community, I am extremely grateful. Whether it be philanthropic support — like that of Steve and Nancy Sheetz, Bill and Janet Castle, and Richard Sutter — or the general support of our role in the history and future of our community, Penn State Altoona could not ask for a better region in which to plant its roots and flourish. The support and enthusiasm shown by our community during the college's 70th anniversary celebration in October was heartwarming and affirming.

So as we begin 2010, I kindly ask that you take a moment to reflect on that for which you are grateful. And as you do, I hope that you place Penn State Altoona on your list. Because — most certainly — you and your fellow friends and alumni of Penn State Altoona are on ours.