To say I was overwhelmed by the retirement celebration held in mid-April would be an understatement. Faculty, staff, other University colleagues, alumni, and friends “conspired” to put together a profoundly moving event filled with heartfelt tributes and beautiful performances that I will never forget. Thank you to all who contributed in some way to that celebration—through your attendance, through your participation in the video tributes, and through your generous donations toward the scholarship that my husband Jim and I established. I was fortunate that members of my family were able to join me for this very special celebration, which was capped off that evening by my final performance at Penn State, in Centre Stage’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird.
A few weeks later I had the pleasure of being the speaker for the college’s spring commencement ceremony. It was such an honor to participate in Penn State commencement in this way. I encouraged the graduates to “let your life speak”—through your actions, through your art, and through listening to your own still small voice that speaks to your own values. There were many student stories and words of advice they had used on their senior survey that demonstrated how many of our students have learned to let their lives speak.
While commencement capped off a busy semester, there is still much going on in the Arts District. During June we have the Penn’s Woods Music Festival, as well as the return of Penn State Centre Stage’s summer season. The Palmer has plenty of summer events as well, and I would be remiss if I did not note the biggest news for the Palmer—a new freestanding art museum has been proposed in The Arboretum, to showcase the growing collection and provide space for a range of cultural activities. Construction, pending board approval, would begin in late 2020, with an opening in fall 2022, coinciding with the 50thanniversary of an art museum at Penn State.
As I finish out my final months at Penn State, it’s so gratifying to see the arts and design thriving on campus. It’s because of the work of many, including people like you, who support the college, promote our work, and, perhaps most significantly, serve as ambassadors through your own work in the arts and design. Thank you, as always, and I hope to see you on campus this summer!