The Paterno Fellows program, named after the family of the late former head coach Joe Paterno, allows students the opportunity of gaining admittance into the Schreyer Honors College after they have been enrolled at Penn State.
Though it didn’t affect the success of the program, the developments that arose out of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case caused uncertainty for a time.
Paterno Fellows enjoy other benefits as well, including financial support and the connections the fellows are able to make through being in the program.
Olivia Hoover, who serves on the student advisory board of the Paterno Fellows program, said that after news broke last year, the board met to consider changing the name of the program.
But the board decided not to make any rash decisions and to keep the name, she said.
“The name isn’t important; it’s what we get out of [the program],” Hoover (junior-psychology)said.
The Paterno family continues to support the program financially and otherwise, Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program Jack Selzer said. Sue Paterno provides leadership and service opportunities for Paterno Fellows to help run the Special Olympics PA Beaver Stadium 5K Run/Family Fun Walk on Blue-White Weekend, he added.
Hoover decided not to apply to the Schreyer Honors College when she applied to Penn State. But after arriving at the university as a freshman, she decided to begin the process of becoming a Paterno Fellow, she said.
The program requires students to take a specified number of honors classes and maintain a certain GPA.
“[It’s] a way to get into the honors college by proving yourself academically,” said Brian Prewitt (junior-political science and crime, law, and justice), a member of the student advisory board for the Paterno Fellows program.
But once a student completes the requirements to be admitted into the honors college, he or she must then complete another set of requirements for the Paterno Fellows program, such as an internship or study abroad experience.
The program doesn’t expect students to complete these costly activities without help. It offers students financial support to complete their internship, study abroad or undergraduate research, Selzer said
In addition to the funding, the concept of the program is attractive to students because it’s self-selective, he said.
The program opens doors for students by enabling them to make connections, Prewitt said.
“If you meet the challenges, certain benefits come to you,” he said.
Recently admitted Paterno Fellows will be recognized for their hard work and dedication to academics by their peers and faculty at the Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program’s third annual Recognition Event at 6:45 p.m. Monday in the HUB Auditorium.
The event will feature speakers Russ Rose, the women’s volleyball coach, and Paterno Fellow Brian Prewitt, as well as entertainment by Irreconcilable Differences and performance poet, Jamaal May.