Penn State WE ARE with you


Penn State WE ARE with you


The recent days since the travesty at Virginia Tech has provided once again, like the aftermath of NINE-ELEVEN, a stimulus that brings us, as Americans, and particularly those associated with our academic family, closer together. On Wednesday, I traveled from my home in Alexandria, VA to State College, PA to attend the Penn State Alumni Council Spring Session and the annual Blue-White football game, that regularly ends the Nittany Lion spring football training.

The Penn State Campus is usually a lively venue, but this time when I arrived there was a different aura. There was a sadness concerning the students and faculty of our sister land grant institution at Blacksburg. The close-knit family that defines Virginia Tech now has an extended family of students, faculty, and alumni from the entire academic community in the USA.

As our Alumni Council meeting started, all the members wore maroon and orange ribbons to signify our respect and solidarity with the Virginia Tech family. That night a memorial service was held on the Campus along with several candle light vigils. One of the vigils was for a Penn State Alumnus who became one of the Hokie grad students lost that day, Jeremy Herbstritt. Later in the day our Alumni Council agreed to provide $1000 to the family's fund at VT.

On Saturday the university held its intrasquad football game, were the traditional sea of blue and white became maroon and orange. The University provided maroon and orange Hokie T-shirts for the entire student section at the stadium. Many wore Penn State clothing in these same colors rather than the blue and white. Seventy Six thousand (76,000) record setting fans attended. At the start of the game, following a poem of tribute by one of the football team members, A moment of silence was observed. Then a special selection was performed by the famous Blue Band, now showing the colors maroon and orange in support of the Virginia Tech family. Most moving was the brass rendition of "Amazing Grace." To "kick off the game", A cheer of "Lets Go Hokies" filled the stadium.

Penn State is a rabid football school with voracious enthusiastic fans that will not miss an event, so on this Saturday nothing changed, except the energy of the Nittany Lion was directed at supporting the Hokie.

During the 3 or 4 days leading up to Saturday's game, sales of Hokie hats, shirts and other clothing were available (Sales have been brisk) with all the proceeds going to the VT family fund. This was evidenced when viewing the tailgates and the stadium where blue and white was replaced with maroon and orange.

During a recent interview on national TV, a student at Virginia Tech was asked, "What is a Hokie?" The student replied, "I am". Such a reply is akin to the Penn State Slogan, "We Are" and, we are with Virginia Tech. We are there to grieve with you and help move all of US forward.

Bob Landis
Penn State Meteorology 1963
Alumni Fellow and member of the Alumni Council


Bob Landis




Bob Landis





Bob Landis, “Penn State WE ARE with you,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 25, 2024,