Former CIA agent and Penn State alumna Valerie Plame Wilson will return to campus this October as the 2009 Homecoming Grand Marshal -- and she's looking forward to introducing her children to grilled stickies from The Diner.
Wilson said she is excited to show her children the Penn State traditions she participated in as a student, including visiting McElwain Hall, where she lived for three years, and buying them Penn State paraphernalia.
"My son is 9 years old," she said. "He is beside himself with excitement that he might meet Joe Paterno."
Wilson, Class of 1985 and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, was chosen for the position of Grand Marshal in the spring, but her appointment was not publicized until this weekend, said Lauren Moore (senior-mathematics), Homecoming alumni relations chairwoman.
Moore said Wilson will attend the Homecoming parade, an ice cream social and the Homecoming game itself. Wilson said she would possibly attend the Homecoming Pep Rally as well.
Wilson drew national attention in 2003 when her identity as an undercover CIA agent was revealed in a Washington Post column written by Robert Novak.
Wilson's husband Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, charged that his wife's identity was leaked by Bush administration officials in retaliation to his New York Times piece, "What I Didn't Find in Africa."
The leak led to an investigation into top Washington officials, the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller.
Anna Sofio, Homecoming public relations chairwoman, said Wilson was chosen because she embodies the spirit of Penn State.
"We thought for Homecoming 2009, she would be a good representative for the Penn State community," Sofio (senior-public relations) said. "She really shows the Penn State education going on nationally -- making her mark on the United States and doing great things for the country and also Penn State."
Wilson said she will stay with Penn State President Graham Spanier at his home and will attend the president's tailgate before the Homecoming game.
"I would not have missed this honor," she said.
"I had four wonderful years at Penn State and when I was asked, I accepted right away -- I didn't have to think it over."
She said she doesn't think the politics of her story will have any negative effect on her visit.
"At this point in my story, while it is political in origin, most people understand what has happened," she said. "My husband was just trying to be a good citizen by writing his op-ed piece for The New York Times. He knew information. It wasn't about being a Republican or a Democrat -- it was about holding your government to their words and deeds."