Snowy morning

Well, the snow actually ended last night and the sky was clear and blue as I came in to work. It is bitterly cold, as you have no doubt heard on the news, the entire region is effected. I thought I would just share this snap of our offices/Atherton Hall on this cold morning.


And you may have heard that the glasses on Joe Paterno’s statue were stolen last week. There was Shoeless Joe Jackson…this is Specless JoePa.


Report on the IQ2 Debate

Last week I put out the final call for the “Intelligence2” (read: “intelligence squared”) debate in NYC. Yesterday 19 Scholars traveled along with Donna Meyer, our Coordinator of Student Programs, to The City and below is Ms. Meyer’s report.

Summary of IQ2 Debate for the File

The debate and trip last night were unforgettable.

Everyone that was expected to attend arrived on time and we were on the road. The first five Scholars to arrive received a “Symphony” candy bar.  After all, we were heading to Symphony Space.  After a quick stop in Bloomsburg for lunch, it wasn’t long before the New York skyline was on the horizon.  Scholars were very excited about the trip and passionate about the topic.  There was little silence along the way as many discussed passionately their views on carbon emissions and more while others asked questions about the debate, panelists and topics for future programming.  Another group kept busy teaching others how to write and speak their name in Chinese!

19 Scholars attended (3 Business majors; 6 Liberal Arts; 1 Engineering; 5 Earth & Mineral Science; 2 Science; 1 Agricultural Science; and 1 Arts & Architecture student)

Upon our arrival  the students were pleasantly surprised to learn that the group had front row seats. After dinner and an opportunity to talk with Mr. Donvan, correspondent for ABC News Nightline, the Scholars experienced an intellectual debate while part of a live television audience complete with cued applause, moderator retakes and technical glitches.

After 7 minute presentations by each panelist, the Hall was open for Q&A from the audience followed by 2 minute rebuttals and a final vote.  The initial vote was 16% for; 49% against and 35% undecided; the final vote following the debate was 42% for; 48% against and only 10% undecided.  Ah….the value of conversation.   Mr. Donvan selected Scholar Andrea Leshak’s question to be asked on air and met with her prior to the debate.

Andrea is a sophomore Scholar majoring in Agriculture.  Her winning question:
“In terms of economic costs, environmental impacts (such as those resulting from carbon emissions) have consistently been regarded as “externalities.”  Al Gore suggests including environmental impacts withing total economic costs. How greatly would American industries be affected if carbon emissions suddently became economic costs.”

And, yes, I have a picture of her with Mr. Donvan and gave her my SHC Anniversary pin to wear–do you think the camera will pick up on that one 😉

Mr. Donvan was dynamic, intelligent, motivating, humble and warm.  He has the Dean’s business card and thank you note and expressed interest in visiting PSU someday.

The student evaluations were an affirmation that this type of program was “well worth the money” if carbon emissions is not.

Our departure was delayed by a technical glitches on stage and retakes coupled with Scholars speaking with panelists after the debate.  (see photo notes below)  Even L. Hunter Lovins president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions was more than happy to talk with the group outside Symphony Space following the debate.  The group then boarded the bus and arrived safely on campus a little after 1:00 a.m.

The Debate will be broadcast to 150 NPR stations and in 270 countries and heard by 80 million listeners.  I’m so proud of Andrea who will be our TV star…she did a great job.  I asked her, Samuel Settle and Michael Cronin to email you with their perspectives on the trip and quotes if you need them.

Airing Times:
Saturday, March 7  2:10 a.m., 10:10 a.m., 3:10 p.m., and 8:10 p.m. (EST)
Sunday, March 8  2:10 a.m., 10:10 a.m., 3:10 p.m. (EST)
I asked for a DVD of the Debate that should be sent to us later in the semester at no additional cost. 🙂

The dean’s vision is to start an annual “Oxford-style” debate on campus.  This format has been (re)introduced to the US through the “Intelligence2″ (read: intelligence squared”) series of debates.  What a great opportunity for intellectual conversation!

Trip to NYC for to hear a live debate – Last call!

Next year we hope to start an annual “Oxford-style” debate on campus. I regularly attended such debates while a graduate student at the University of Oxford. This format has been (re)introduced to the US through the “Intelligence2” (read: “intelligence squared”) series of debates. The next debate in their series is on January 13th in NYC and the SHC is coordinating a trip to attend. I will be unable to go but I encourage you to consider going! We are subsidizing the trip with a modest cost $10 contribution on your part. Later in the spring we will begin discussing plans for our own Debating Society and will call for volunteers for the committee. Hope you can make it!

Are you interested in attending a live Oxford debate in NYC?  If so, sign-up today and pay only $10 for your seat on the bus departing campus for New York City on Tuesday, January 13. The two-hour debate titled, “Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions are not Worth the Money” is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. The debate will be moderated by John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News Nightline.  Scholars interested and available to attend should  1) send a commitment via email to Rosanna Mersinger at by noon tomorrow, January 9, 2) complete necessary paperwork in C-4 Atherton Hall with payment on Monday, January 12 and 3) submit a question related to the topic for Mr. Donvan. Your email is your commitment to attend but to board the bus the payment and paperwork must be completed. Cash and checks are acceptable forms of payment. Checks should be made payable to “Penn State University.” Scholars are asked to submit questions for the moderator by Monday as well. For more information about this debate, visit   For questions about the trip, contact Coordinator of Student Programs, Ms. Donna Meyer at

The Economy, Penn State, and the SHC

Below is a news release from President Spanier regarding the university’s efforts to deal with the current economic situation. We are also working with the other undergraduate colleges to help students who are finding themselves with a shortfall for tuition payments. We know this is a difficult time for everyone and it would be easy for many to view education as a luxury to be deferred. We do not want to see that happen and will continue to do all we can to ensure that our students will be able to continue through completion of their degrees. Many donors have already stepped forward to provide us with additional scholarship funds to make this possible. If you are also able and willing to help, please do contact me and I will be happy to discuss further the needs currently facing our students.

Penn State President Graham Spanier has sent an open letter to the University community talking frankly about the economy and outlining how Penn State and its students and employees will be affected. In this brief video synopsis, the president addresses deep concerns about rising costs, job security, salary increases, construction projects on hold, things Penn State is doing to ease the burden on employees and students, and where additional help can be found. Read his full message at online.

Schreyer Scholar blogging from the Rose Bowl

Happy New Year everyone! One of our Scholars, Greg Tallman, a junior economics and finance major, has celebrated the New Year and a significant birthday in California. He is part of a large student group out there for the Rose Bowl and he is blogging his experience. Follow his updates on YouTube and… GO State!

Day Two: