State of State was born out of a Skype conversation had during our fall 2012 semester abroad. It was surreal to be physically away in Europe the semester after the “Penn State Scandal” broke, and we spent it largely wishing to be with our community in State College. Every day, another piece of news would leak out. It wasn’t just the football program’s reputation that was crumbling, but also our identity as Penn Staters. Who were we without our leaders? Our traditions? How could we process the atrocities committed around us?
This was our conversation over the internet, somewhere between Spain and Switzerland and, all the while, we wondered if the same conversations were happening back home. What did the administration think? The alumni? Other students? We realized that there wasn’t a place for the Penn State community to come together and discuss this issue -- and so many others that we collectively experience.
And so State of State was created to give speakers a platform to talk about important Penn State issues, and to allow participants to exchange ideas in facilitated discussions. In short, we wanted to spark a conversation. As alumni, we have watched State of State grow, and already watched opinions and issues shift. We hope this conference will always serve as a place for the community to learn, to listen and to move Penn State forward.
Patrick Boynton & Suzanne Zakaria
Founders, State of State