A Memorial for Joe
My name is Lauren Perrotti and my special part of Penn State history has been transformed by Joe Paterno and the Paterno family. I am currently a senior and I have the distinct privilege to be a member of the first class of Paterno Fellows. The Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program is an innovative partnership between the Paterno Family, the College of the Liberal Arts, and the Schreyer Honors College. It asks students to reach their highest academic level and then some; just as its namesake had always done.
If we all revere Joe Paterno, it is because we saw in him all the outstanding qualities we hope to possess ourselves. His success and intense passion in his field - coaching, mentoring, and leading by example - is something that we all strive for. The Paterno Fellows Program challenges students to perform the Paterno Way, by achieving excellence in academics, communication, ethics, leadership, and service. As Paterno Fellow scholars, we are not particularly clever, but rather, we're particularly inspired.
Joe pushed his players and all Penn State students to strive for academic excellence. He knew that education was the most important resource available to us. Through the Paterno Fellows Program, I was admitted to the Schreyer Honors College based on my merit and hard work. Each day, we are thankful for the academic opportunities that Joe and his family have afforded us.
The generosity of Joe and the Paterno family is immeasurable. In 2010 and 2011, I was awarded funding through the Paterno Fellows Program to help to cover costs when I studied abroad in Italy and conducted my research in Spain. I will never forget that when I thanked him at the Paterno Fellows Recognition Ceremony in 2011, his response was to thank me right back.
Through the Paterno Fellows Program service component, I began volunteering with the Beaver Stadium Run, benefitting Special Olympics Pennsylvania. This spectacular event allowed me to be able to get to know Sue Paterno as we plan and organize the race.
I had always admired the Paternos, but it was at this time, they entered a very special place in my heart. I quickly learned that the Paterno family has an unending supply of love. It's the forever kind of love that you can see reflected in all they do for the Penn State community. I have found a great friend and role model in Sue Paterno and I aspire to be as thoughtful and as kind as she is.
Joe Paterno led an exemplary life of leadership. The Paterno Fellows Program has shaped my experiences and will continue to help scholars excel. The "Paterno Way" has become the Penn State Way and "Success with Honor" has become the standard. We mourn his passing, but we will lean on each other to lift up our Penn State family. Joe believed in this University more than anyone and he believed in all of us. By being the most kind, thoughtful, and hard-working versions of ourselves, together we can continue to make JoePa as proud of us as we are of him.