(Nearly) One Year Anniversary 6

From engage.shc.psu.edu. I will be in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow on bidness so no blogging for a day or so.

It has nearly been a full year since I started as Dean of the Schreyer Honors College and some reflection is in order. Personally, it is amazing to think of all that has happened in the last 10 months. It was just a year ago this week when my wife and I visited campus for The Interview. We were very excited about the prospect, being from the north east we yearned for the seasons and terrain of the region, but we tried to keep our excitement in check. That being said, Penn State, State College, and most of all the people have lived up to our very high expectations.

Dean Brady & the LionI should note that it is the people most of all that have made this such a smooth transition and a wonderful place to be. From the staff in our office who work very hard and joyfully to the administration, the Penn State family is wonderful. And the students make this one of the best jobs I could imagine. Schreyer Scholars are some of the most engaging, interesting, and thoughtful people I have met. They make us all Penn State proud and make it all worth it. (Schmaltzy? Maybe, but true!)So, looking back on (nearly) a year what’s new? Well a lot is the same and that is a very good thing. The academic offerings, internships, research opportunities, and the travel programs that have formed the basis of the Scholars Program since 1980 remain solidly in place. We are working to strengthen them, however, with new courses being developed, new opportunities for travel, and greater connections with our alumni and friends for exciting internships and job opportunities. (Shanghai anyone?)

We have implemented some new things, from the mundane of this blog and our podcasts (you DO listen to our podcasts don’t you? 😉 ) to the new SHOtime, Schreyer Honors Orientation for all incoming Scholars this fall. We have several new people in the office including Chris Arbutina, our coordinator of college relations, and just hired this week Lisa Kerchinski as our new full-time coordinator of career development.

Most of all we have recommitted ourselves to the excellence and integrity of scholarship that the College has always maintained. It is not just enough to be the best academically, it is imperative that in doing our best we are also seeking to promote the best in and for others. Research and discoveries do not help anyone if they merely remain in the laboratories and in books, which is why we continue to encourage and enable our students to take what they are learning out into the world where they will continue to learn while also helping others. It is an ethic and ethos that suffuses the SHC and PSU; in the words of our Alma Mater:

For the glory of old State,For her founders strong and great, For the future that we wait, Raise the song, raise the song.

For old State, for the world, for the future.It has been one amazing year and I look forward to many, many more!


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6 thoughts on “(Nearly) One Year Anniversary

  • TheShizz

    “in the words of OUR alma mater”

    al·ma ma·ter


    1. a school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated.

    Did i miss something?

  • TheShizz

    Though actualyl now that i think of it the other definition is:

    2. the official anthem of a school, college, or university.

    in which you should have reworded the sentence by saying, “in the words of the Alma Mater” or at least capitalize the words.

  • Steve

    Meh. I agree the name chosen is interesting. Perhaps The Shizz should display a bit more modesty, given that “The Shizz” is a variant of another interesting “urban slang” word that means “The best.”

    Wow–the things one learns when one starts working through definitions of words, eh, Bro?

  • TheShizz

    Unnecessary? When one can’t use correct grammar in their blog, especially for a dean of an honors college at a university, then their reputation and credibility of their blog is hurt. The Alma Mater is a name of a song. Are titles of a production not capitalized? Is a name of a person not capitalized?

    Penn State is not my alma mater, by no means. I never said it was. I never even said that I am employed by Penn State, all I said was that it wasn’t your alma mater. Are my facts misleading?

    Why pick at ones name? This act is simply childish. It is a name. Do you see me making fun of someone for naming their child Richard or Dick?

    My final question to you is simple. What was the point of your response? The only compelling argument had to do with the choice of my name. You did not defend yourself, or say that I was wrong with reason.

    I do have much respect for you, but it almost seems as though you’re angry by response. It seems as though you’re trying to take any shot you can at me, which happens to be my name. I am fine with that, as it is a name I have picked out for myself, and it is a name that I shall gladly use on here.

    Thank you for your time,

  • Chris Brady

    This is interesting. At some point yesterday TheShizz’s first two comments were gone so I removed my reply. Today I noticed that I had 4 comments in moderation awaiting my approval (the ones above). So I have approved them, unfortunately I had already deleted my reply to “TheShizz” so his last comment is not in context. I will try and recreate those comments and reply to the last as well.

    To deal with the name issue first, I merely commented that I found the choice of “TheShizz” as a name interesting, and linked to this Urban Dictionary entry. Now as Steve points out this term is, in slang, a positive one, but I personally would not refer to myself, as positive as the term might be in certain cultural communities, with such a term. That’s all I was offering, a comment on the choice of name.

    Why “pick at” the name? (And I was merely making an observation, rather than picking.) Because this is not questioning someone’s given name but rather a name that they have chosen (such as “Targuman”). I do not make fun of people’s given or chosen names, but I often ask why someone has chosen their online username and persona. It is telling and often revealing.

    Now to the heart of the criticism, that I should not have said “our alm mater” since I did not graduate from PSU. I did, contrary to TheShizz’s last post, offer a defense of my language and terms (this is not grammar so much as semantics) by pointing out that his second comment gets to my usage of the term. I am an employee of the school therefore it is “my” alma mater as a (now) member of the institution.

    I also pointed out that it should not be capitalized and in his most recent post, TheShizz says that it should be capitalized since it is the title of a song or a production. Except it is not. An “alma mater” is a kind of song, just as is a symphony or a minuet. Now, had I been citing the title (“The Penn State Alma Mater”) then yes, I should have used caps, but I wasn’t so I needn’t do that.

    I really do wish I still had my originally reply. It certainly was not meant to be angry and I certainly was not trying to take a shot at you. Quite the contrary, I felt that your comments were rather petty. Why pick on this particular use of the first person plural? Was there nothing of more substance in my post that you might reply to? In the end, I tried to respond and explain my lexical choices while noting your curious choice of user name.

    As my brother said, meh. ‘Nuff said.

  • Chris Brady

    Ah! I went back and checked the notification emails that WordPress sends when a comment is posted and I have my comment!

    Well “TheShizz” you got to it in your second comment, but I do not think you are right that it should be capitalized or without the first person plural. It may not be your alma mater, but it is mine since I am an employee of PSU and I originally wrote this on my SHC blog. As for capitalizing it, that is simply unnecessary.

    So my reference to TheShizz’s name was nothing more than a link to the Urban Dictionary. I am not sure why it seemed angry in tone to TS, it wasn’t meant to be and I do not read it in that way, even now.

    And as I said before, capitalizing the phrase, in this context when it is not being used as a title, is unnecessary. Now… I have gone and done some more digging on alma mater/Alma Mater. It does seem that most university style guides say something like this, “The college one attended (lower case); “Alma Mater” (upper case, in quotes) is the song.” (For what it is worth, I cannot find Penn State’s at the moment.) So I will acquiesce and correct that immediately. It still does not seem to follow the usual pattern that I noted before and I am now intrigued. I will investigate further as time allows. (Maybe I will ask Grammar Girl what she thinks.)

    In any event, I do not think the reputation or credibility of my blog will be in danger since my usage is essentially correct (and this is, after all, a very minor matter).