The first thing Liam Fennecken is going to do once he gets to Philly is hit the flagship Wawa on Broad and Walnut. He hasn’t been yet, and he’s through trying to explain the store to his Once touring cast members.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “It’s such a Philly-specific thing that people just don’t understand.”
Fennecken, who grew up in Doylestown and went to Archbishop Wood High School, is making his Philadelphia professional theatrical debut this January in Once, the Irish-infused Broadway musical coming to the Academy of Music. He tackles the role of Svec, and has to do a lot more than just sing and act; he plays four instruments on stage. We caught up with the multitalented performer who received his theater training at Penn State.
You’re the second person I’ve talked to recently who came out of the theater program from Penn State and is touring as a lead with a Broadway show. I’m curious to hear about your experience at the college and how it prepared you.
I loved it. First of all, I wasn’t even looking to go into theater. I went into Penn State as an Animal Science major, which is still a passion of mine. I started going and seeing the shows and thought, “Why am I not doing that?” I really lucked out and decided that I wanted to do theater for my life. It’s such a wonderful program: All of the faculty and teachers have worked in the industry for years and are supportive and help get you connections outside of school. Read more »
A Commonwealth Court panel ruled unanimously today that Jerry Sandusky is still entitled to his state pension despite being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys.
Sandusky, the Penn State football team’s defensive coordinator from 1977 to 1999, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in 2012 and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
As a result, he lost his $4,900-a-month state pension when the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) ruled he was no longer eligible for it. Sandusky lost an appeal, but his lawyer vowed to keep fighting.
In conflict is the Pennsylvania law regarding pensions. Prior to 2004, when an amended law was passed, Pennsylvanians could only lose their state pensions if they were convicted of financial crimes. The 2004 law was not made retroactive, so Sandusky’s crimes do not apply. Read more »
Photo courtesy of THON
You’ve probably heard of Penn State’s THON, a 46-hour dance-your-pants-off fundraiser that happens once a year and benefits childhood cancer research and treatment. Dancing for 46-hours (non-stop) is a great way to work up a sweat and stack up those donation dollars, but unfortunately THON is still more than 100 days away. (And FYI, you wouldn’t want to see me dance for 10 seconds, let alone 46 hours — trust me.) If dancing isn’t your thing and/or you’re itching to help right now (and still want to work up that sweat), keep reading. Read more »
Two weeks ago, Temple pulled off one of its biggest wins in decades when it beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Joe Paterno was fourteen.
The Owls followed that up with its first win over Cincinnati since 1985. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Jerry Sandusky still had another 14 years left as Penn State’s defensive coordinator.
Temple’s wins over Penn State (at the Linc) and Cincinnati (on the road) were led by two players: running back Jahad Thomas on offense (328 yards rushing in two games) and linebacker Tyler Matakevich on defense (20 total tackles in two games, two picks in Saturday’s win). Temple’s defense sacked Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg 10 times in their season-opening win, then forced five turnovers in the win over Cincinnati. Thomas also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to open the second half against the Bearcats.
All of this has the Owls in a spot they haven’t been in a very, very long time: Very nearly ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Owls are in the top spot in the “Also Receiving Votes” column. They’re No. 26! Temple hasn’t been ranked since it finished 17th in the top-25 after going 10-2 in the 1979 season. (That year, Temple won the Garden State Bowl.) Read more »
Football is under siege — from parents, doctors, academics, a Kennedy, even from Buzz Bissinger, the guy who wrote the definitive book on football, Friday Night Lights. This makes us sad. Football is a wonderful game perfectly suited to the American spirit, and we’d miss it if it went away. We love us some Eagles, but for true passion — from guys who aren’t making millions a year to take the field — you can’t beat college football. Here are eight upcoming games featuring local college teams that should offer lots of rivalry, fun and excitement, not to mention cheerleaders and marching bands. Catch as many as you can — while you can. Read more »
Inside Higher Ed has a wry piece on the unexpected number of .edu accounts in the data revealed by the hackers of adultery-enabling website Ashley Madison. While the story notes that many colleges allow alums to maintain their .edu accounts, and that Ashley Madison never verified email addresses, it also says this: Read more »
Penn State’s DJ Newbill, left, drives against Akron’s Alex Abreu during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
A former Penn State basketball player was reportedly detained on suspicion of terrorism as he tried to join his new team in France, his European agent says.
D.J. Newbill was stopped by German authorities, Newbill’s agent, Francois Lamy, said in a Facebook post. (The post has been translated from French.) The incident was first reported by the Black Cager blog.
“An officer of the German immigration doubted his statement that he was in Europe to play basketball,” Lamy wrote. “He also doubted that France was the country of final destination. Newbill was interrogated for hours. German immigration officials were convinced he had a terrorist motive.” Read more »
Two local (sort of) institutions have presidents who were among the top 10 highest-paid presidents of public universities, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education. This week, Time compared that data to Money magazine’s new list of “schools that provide the most value for your tuition dollar.”
Number seven on the Chronicle‘s Top 10 list is Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware, who received total compensation of $800,156 for the 2013-’14 school year. Money magazine ranks UD 65th on its “best value” list.
And the highest-paid public university president in the country during that time period? Ex-Penn State prez Rodney A. Erickson, whose total compensation for the final year of his tenure (he stepped down at the end of the 2013-’14 school year) was $1,494,603 — though that figure includes the value of a university-sponsored life insurance package that was discontinued that year and thus transferred to him. (Not for nothing, though, Eric Barron, who replaced him as Penn State president, was hired at a higher base salary, $800,000, than Erickson’s, $633,336.) Read more »
A comparison of Penn State’s old and new academic logos.
The Penn State Nittany Lion is scared as hell.
Or perhaps he’s just rolled around in a giant catnip patch. He could also be a zombie lion, or under the influence of some other drug. Or maybe it’s as simple as this: He’s just realized he’s in the crosshairs of a Minnesota dentist.
Yesterday, Penn State unveiled a new academic logo for the university. It replaces the lion shrine version that had been around since the 1980s. Per The Daily Collegian, the school began a logo update in 2013 and paid Jerry Kuyper Partners, a Connecticut identity-branding firm, $128,000 for the work.
“I am excited to see us moving forward with an updated visual identity that connects our rich tradition with a bright future,” PSU president Eric Barron said in a release. “The 1980s version of the mark incorporated important elements of who we are as a University, but had presented usage challenges for some time. The updated version is a strong representation of Penn Staters’ excellence, passion and innovation.” Read more »
Lauren Bajorek via Facebook | Nittany Lion via Shutterstock.com
A Penn State University senior from York died this past weekend after reportedly falling from a balcony in Seville, Spain.
Lauren Bajorek had just completed a summer internship program in Seville, Penn State news site OnwardState reported Sunday. She majored in finance with minors in Spanish and music performance, and was part of Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphonic Band, and Alpha Kappa Psi, the blog said. Read more »