Celebrating 75 Years of Meteorology at Penn State: 1935 - 2010
A Synopsis of the Celebration
What do you get when over 130 meteorology alumni return to State College to celebrate the diamond anniversary of meteorology at Penn State? Soaring temperatures, high humidity, and a really nice thunderstorm, of course! But the weather wasn’t the only highlight of the celebration—it was packed full of activities for alumni and families alike. Let’s break down the weekend for you.
Day 1 – Friday, July 9
The celebration kicked off on Friday, July 9 with a day-long symposium to celebrate the accomplishments of Penn State students and faculty in the atmospheric sciences. Leaders in the field—most Penn State meteorology alumni or former faculty across several disciplines—entertained a crowd of over 150 alumni and friends with their informal discussions and presentations about advances in meteorology and “back in the day”-type reflections. At noon, the group retreated to the Joel N. Myers Weather Center for a tasty lasagna lunch, and for many, their first opportunity to get a glimpse of the renovated Myers Weather Center. The symposium reconvened in the Information Sciences and Technology Building at 1:30 p.m.
The symposium wrapped up around 4:00 p.m. when alumni reunited with their families and prepared for a fun-filled barbecue dinner at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on campus beginning at 5:30 p.m. Over 300 people attended the BBQ, which was catered by the Centre region’s infamous Clem’s BBQ. While folks mingled and waited in the food line, they were entertained by a jazz combo that featured one of Meteorology’s own faculty members, Raymond Najjar. What a treat—a scientist who also has so much artistic talent! The evening also included a visit by Penn State president, Graham Spanier, who spoke to the crowd and honored Dr. Charles Hosler with his remarks. Well…except for when he emphasized that Charlie had served the University in almost every capacity, except that of president! Dr. Spanier then introduced a special video message for Charlie from the legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, after which Charlie took to the podium for some remarks. But that’s not all...the Penn State Nittany Lion mascot showed up, donning a Penn State Meteorology tshirt no less, and happily “worked the crowd” for an hour or so. Alumni and friends were treated to a poster display of Penn State Meteorology student research as well as a table full of books authored by Meteorology alumni, faculty, and staff. One of the highlights of that display was a book on War Meteorology written in 1942 by Hans Neuberger, former Meteorology Department Head.
Now, it’s a really good thing that we took advantage of the beautiful facility of the Hintz Family Alumni Center, which allowed us to have most of the tables and food indoors, because a refreshing thunderstorm rolled through about halfway through the evening. For any other crowd, this may have been a damper on the party, but not for a packed house full of meteorologists! They loved it, and I suppose, knew that it was going to provide welcome relief in the days that followed from the unbearable heat and humidity.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 10
Day two of the celebration, Saturday July 10, was another day chock-full of activities for alumni and friends to enjoy.
The day kicked-off with a full breakfast sponsored by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in the Information Sciences and Technology Building. Breakfast attendees were invited to a short talk by EMS Dean, William Easterling and tours of campus led by Lion Ambassadors. Tours of the Joel N. Myers Weather Center and the department’s television studio were also included. There was even a chance for children to record their own weathercast!
At 10:30 a.m., two current meteorology faculty, Drs. Yvette Richardson and Paul Markowski, gave a special presentation about the Vortex2 Project in the John J. Cahir auditorium in Walker Building.
The Joel N. Myers Weather Center sprang to life with a dedication ceremony at 11:15 a.m. Provost Rodney Erikson, College of EMS DeanWilliam Easterling, and Meteorology Department Head William Brune provided remarks, before the microphone was handed over to Joel N. Myers. University President Graham Spanier was there to help with the unveiling of a bronze plaque that was placed in the Weather Center in honor of Dr. Myers.
Immediately following the dedication ceremony a birthday cake was presented for former Department Head, Alfred Blackadar, who celebrated his 90th birthday just days before. We caught him quite by surprise!
A meet-the-faculty session followed allowing alumni and friends the opportunity to reminisce and meet all of the Meteorology faculty. Each panel of the electronic map wall was adorned with a faculty profile so that alumni could learn a little more about them.
After a light lunch, folks retreated once again to the John J. Cahir auditorium on the first floor of Walker to participate in a Panel Discussion on “Looking Forward.” Seven alumni from several disciplines in the atmospheric sciences served as panelists and bantered around implications for the future of the field.
The next big event began at 5:30 p.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel—“An Anniversary Evening.” A cocktail hour was followed by a group picture outdoors and led into the dinner banquet in the President’s Hall, which began at 6:30 p.m. Department Head William Brune provided introductory remarks and welcomed Dennis Thomson, Professor Emeritus of Meteorology, to the stage. Dr. Thomson introduced a special slide presentation of former faculty titled “Faculty Who Came Before.” The room was silent except for claps of respect after each faculty member appeared on the screen.
A nice dinner buffet was enjoyed by over 250 attendees, including some graduate and undergraduate students, and then Dr. Jon Nese introduced a special video presentation celebrating the history of Meteorology at Penn State. After dessert, another video of congratulatory messages from meteorological organizations all over the country entertained the crowd. All alumni, faculty, staff, and students took home a DVD of the history presentation and a deck of cards that were individually adorned with pictures taken over the years of Meteorology at Penn State.
Day 3 – Sunday, July 11
The sendoff included one last chance to see the Joel N. Myers Weather Center over pastries and coffee and a nice trolley tour of campus led by Dr. Charles Hosler—a real treat to many—even some current students! Opportunities for alumni to visit the National Weather Service in State College and AccuWeather were also on the agenda.
Wrapping up, it was a fun-filled weekend and we’re grateful to everyone that participated and helped to make it happen. To our alumni, faculty, staff, and students who have sustained and promoted the Department over the past 75 years—we thank you! Our only hope is that everyone in the Meteorology family who celebrated the weekend with us will not wait another 25 years to come back again! Happy Diamond Anniversary Penn State Meteorology!
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