Ivy Leaf - Spring 2010
From the Editor's Desk
February 3, 2010, marked my thirteenth year with Penn State Altoona. When I look back to 1997 - the year I began my employment with the college - I am simply amazed with the growth that has occurred. I arrived just as Penn State Altoona received its designation as a four-year, degree-granting college of the University. The landscape of our campus has since changed greatly, including the expansion of our footprint into downtown Altoona - spurring a revitalization of a portion of the City that many had written off as undesirable and undevelopable. I am proud to be a part of an institution with leaders who have had the vision to see what could be, when others could not, as well as a sense of civic duty to give back to the community and spark economic growth and revitalization.
But despite the physical expansion and changes that I have witnessed, Penn State Altoona would be nothing without its people — especially our wonderful students. I have had the privilege during my tenure to work with a number of impressive young people through the production of television commercials, photo shoots, Ivy Leaf stories, internships, and work study students employed in our office. Through e-mail, Facebook, and even the old-fashioned phone call, I have kept in touch with some of these students after their graduation and often feel like a proud parent to learn of their professional and personal accomplishments.
One such individual is Mike Rethage '07. Mike was featured in numerous Penn State Altoona TV commercials and highlighted in an Ivy Leaf article on entrepreneurship while he was a student. I remember Mike struggling through an early morning kinesiology class on running and joking that he needed to go on a carrot and water diet before the next video shoot. Now, thirty-plus pounds lighter and an avid runner, Mike just participated on a team for the Pittsburgh marathon. However, as you read about Mike in this issue, you will see that his physical accomplishments pale in comparison to all he has achieved professionally since his graduation in 2007.
Ivy Leaf readers may recognize the name of Sam Wagner '09. Sam has been a contributing writer for the magazine for a number of years. He first entered our office as an intern, and I was immediately impressed with his work ethic and writing skills. His fresh look and creative style lead me to hire him post-graduation as a freelance writer and I believe that his contributions, including his article in this issue, add to the quality of the magazine. And, he's a heck of a nice guy. Sam was married on May 28 of this year, and I felt privileged to be invited to his wedding.
If you haven't visited Penn State Altoona for a while, I invite you to witness these incredible changes in person. But don't just stop with a tour of our physical campus; have lunch at Port-Sky Café or grab a cup of coffee at Coasters in Hawthorn or the Dining Car Downtown and chat with some students. Undoubtedly they will put a smile on your face and make you proud to be a part of our Penn State Altoona family.