Behrend Competitive Cheer Team Places Second in National Competition

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend


Penn State Behrend’s competitive cheer team recently made history, earning the college’s first nationally ranked cheerleading trophy. The team, led by coach Kelli Carpinello, took second place in the 2023 NCA Collegiate Cheer National Championships, the highest-ranking competition for collegiate cheerleading, which was held in Daytona Beach, Florida, earlier this month.

Cheerleading is a club sport at Behrend, but Carpinello and students involved take it as seriously as a competitive sport.

“Sometimes students hear the word ‘club’ and feel their attendance isn’t mandatory, however, I make it clear in the beginning that I treat this much like a varsity sport, where they are expected to attend practices, workouts, and everything that goes along with being a student athlete,” Carpinello said.

Practices are typically three times a week, and team members are required to work out at least twice a week on their own. Tumblers are asked to attend open gym weekly to keep their skills fresh.

Carpinello, who also works as a financial aid coordinator at Behrend, coaches two cheer teams – Game Day Cheer and Competitive Cheer – and the college’s Dance Team, too.  All three clubs have grown considerably under her guidance, with more than thirty-five students participating in the 2022-23 academic year.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in the past couple of years,” Carpinello said. “I believe that, post-COVID, people wanted to get out and do more. Most of these students missed out on memorable events at the end of their high school years and beginning of their college years. This past fall, we had a record number of people, nearly sixty, try out for cheer.”

Behrend Blog talked with Carpinello and Competitive Cheer club member Lauren Hanke, a junior Nursing major, to learn more about cheering at Behrend and the club’s big win.

What is your background with the sport, Kelli?

Kelli: I was a cheerleader and dancer in my younger years. I danced in my youth, cheered in middle school and high school, was on a dance team at IUP for one year, and then cheered and danced for the Erie Invaders Football team in 2000. I was the assistant cheer coach at Edinboro University (now PennWest Edinboro) between 1997 and 1999, and the dance coach at Edinboro in 1998. I took some time off and began coaching cheer again in 2015 at Behrend. I assumed the dance team coach position in 2021. I am both adviser and coach for Behrend’s Cheer and Dance Teams.

They are all separate clubs?

Kelli: Yes. Game Day cheerleaders perform at men’s and women’s basketball games. The Competitive cheerleaders participate in local, regional, and national competitions (such as the NCA Collegiate Cheer National Championship). The Dance Team is another club.

We’ve seen you perform at games and events, and it’s obvious the team is inclusive and having a lot of fun. Is that something you try to cultivate or is it just organic?

Kelli: It is a little bit of both. At the beginning of each season, we embrace the “team is family” mindset. I grew up as an athlete in various sports with various coaches and different styles, so I knew what kind of a coach I wanted to be.

Often the tone of a team reflects the leaders. Who are the leaders that stand out in cheer?

Kelli: Leadership begins with the coaches and trickles down to executive board members and ultimately the rest of the team. How I conduct myself as a coach has an impact on the team’s mood and attitude. I have been blessed with an amazing assistant coach, Karle Cortes, who is very talented and brings amazing energy to our teams. The executive board members have been instrumental in maintaining club business, organizing team bonding events, and keeping team morale high.

What is the key to being a good cheerleader?

Kelli: Experience and skill is easy to spot, but I look for someone who also has a good attitude, is coachable, will take constructive criticism, and is a good teammate. I’d rather coach a student with a great attitude who is open to improvement in their skills than someone who is very skilled but has a not-so-great attitude. Ideally, a winning attitude and excellent skill is a cheer coach’s dream.

Tell me about the Florida competition. How did you fund the travel?  

Lauren: We held several fundraisers during the year to help cover the cost of travel. The Student Activity Fee and Student Government Association were generous enough to pay for the registration fees to enter the competition. We are grateful that the school invested in us and gave our team the opportunity to represent Penn State Behrend at a national level.

How long were you there and how did the competition work?

Lauren: The competition was three days long with routines starting at 8:00 a.m. and going until 9:00 p.m. We competed in the Spirit Rally Division. After our Day 1 performance, we were in second place, only 1 point behind first place. Our Day 2 performance scores were then combined with Day 1 performance, which ultimately resulted in our team claiming second place. We were very proud!

Did you have time to enjoy the beaches/city?

Lauren: We did have a day off where we were able to spend time on the beach with our friends and family who came to support us. NCA hosted a glow party with a DJ, games, and multiple activities where we were able to make friends from other teams and celebrate our last days in Daytona.

Any special moments or memories, from the competition or from this season, that you want to share?

Kelli: There are many moments that are memorable, but for me as the coach, one of the most memorable was a photo that one of the students’ parents took of our team clapping and cheering for Thiel, which had won first place. Their support was genuine and indicative of good sportsmanship. It made me very proud.

Lauren: The tradition at the NCA competition after winning a title is to run into the ocean with the trophy to celebrate everyone’s hard work over the past eight months. I think the team would agree that this was the most memorable experience for us. There were a lot of tears, hugs and, of course cheers!

Do you have a lot of seniors? Will you lose a lot of your team?

Kelli: We have just two seniors on our Competitive Cheer team this season. We are a young team, so there is plenty of potential for continued growth.

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You can follow the team on Facebook and Instagram at “PSBCheer.”



Ann K. Scott Presented with Mary Behrend Impact Award

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager

Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend


Ann K. Scott, community outreach manager for Erie Insurance Group, is the recipient of the inaugural Mary Behrend Impact Award, presented by Penn State Behrend’s Women’s Engagement Council (WEC).

The award was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions, directly or indirectly, to advance the purpose of WEC, namely to support and lift women by advancing programs related to women, to the college, and to the greater Erie community. Scott was honored with the first award at a luncheon at Behrend’s Lilley Library in March.

“Ann’s professional accomplishments, personal philanthropic commitment and dedication to student mentorship exemplifies the spirit of Mary Behrend,” said Priscilla Hamilton ’73, a WEC board member who chaired the award committee. “Her contributions reflect Mary’s spirit of generosity, which created Penn State Behrend.”

Scott earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication from Behrend in 1982 and an MBA from the college’s Black School of Business in 1999. She joined Erie Insurance in 1982 and currently manages a philanthropic budget of nearly $5 million and leads charitable giving and community outreach efforts through Erie Insurance’s Giving Network.

Scott is chair of Penn State Behrend’s Council of Fellows, the first woman to hold that position. She also served previously as an executive-in-residence for the Black School of Business. She has been honored by the Boys & Girls Club of Erie for her integrity and impact on the community, and in 2012, she was recognized as a Woman Making History by the Mercy Center for Women, for her support of women and young people.

“I’m humbled to receive this award,” Scott said. “Behrend has been a part of my and my family’s lives since I graduated high school. The people I’ve met there have impacted my life, my community, my work, my family, and my values. I’m honored to be counted among the many strong, kind, and influential women in the Behrend community, including the remarkable Mary Behrend who began it all.”

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Behrend Roots Run Deep

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager

Penn State Behrend

walnut tree planting - h.c. (11)
Kevin Engle, grounds and landscape supervisor at Behrend, and H. Richard Obermanns.


If you’ve walked past the Otto Behrend Science Building recently, you may have noticed a new black walnut sapling out front. The four-foot tree has an interesting connection to Behrend and the building it will one day shade.

It was grown by H. Richard Obermanns at his home in Cleveland from nuts shed by a tree on the grounds of the former Hammermill plant in Erie, which was owned by Otto and his brother, Ernst Behrend. 

“The nuts came from a tree (now gone) that was located in the residential area of Hammermill Paper Company where the Behrend family and senior mill managers had homes in the first part of the twentieth century,” Obermanns said. “Given what I understand of his interest in horticulture, I think it is quite likely Ernst Behrend had a role in selecting and perhaps planting the parent tree.”

Obermanns’ grandfather worked for the Behrends at their original Hammermühle paper plant in a what was then a German state known as Prussia. He came to the United States to work at the Behrends’ Erie plant. Obermanns’ father subsequently worked at Hammermill, and he was also employed at the plant as a teenager.

This fall, Obermanns was on campus to speak at a 150th birthday celebration for Otto Behrend at Lilley Library. In his remarks, he pointed out that Ernst and Otto started what became a Fortune 500 company when they were only slightly older than the Behrend students who were gathered for the event.

While Ernst’s wife, Mary Behrend, would go on to donate the family’s Glenhill property to Penn State in 1948 to establish Penn State Behrend, Otto would bequeath his country property in western Millcreek Township to the Millcreek School District. The district used the land to create Asbury Woods, a 216-acre regional nature center that features five miles of hiking trails and an education center.  

It’s clear from Otto’s and Ernst’s residences that trees were important to them – not only professionally, in the manufacturing of paper, but personally, as well – as evidenced by the extensive collection of trees with which they surrounded their homes.

Ernst and Mary were known to bring home trees as “souvenirs” of their world travels, and its why Penn State Behrend, which is recognized as an arboretum by the American Public Gardens Association, has such a unique array of trees on campus.

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Miniature artwork highlights big role of Lilley Library

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend


When Nancy Loker ’13 received a miniature model, “Sam’s Study,” for Christmas, she thought it looked like her workspace at Penn State Behrend’s John M. Lilley Library. So, when Loker, who works on the circulation desk at Lilley, put the model together, she decided to customize it with tiny details to highlight the services the college’s library provides.

Take a close look at the square-foot model, which is on display in the library now, and you’ll notice some familiar artwork, including a tiny bust of Moritz Behrend, a globe, plants, signage, and many other artifacts that can found in Lilley Library.

“When I could, I used real materials that we use in the library,” Loker said. “The boxes and packing paper in them are bits of materials that we use to ship and receive books. The paper covers on the books are exactly the kind you’ll find on interlibrary loaned books behind the circulation desk.”

There are plenty of bitty books on the model’s shelves to represent the stacks at Behrend, which include reference books, works of fiction, and even a children’s book section for the Elementary and Early Childhood Education majors. But, as anyone who has set foot in a library in the last twenty years knows, libraries are much more than books today. On the shelves, you’ll also find board games, newspapers, video games, movies, puzzles, and more.

A clipboard, markers and a bottle of water are meant to represent the many student workers, who often arrive for work with hydration in hand.

Next to the display is a list of the library’s services that are represented in the model. It’s like a tiny 3-D version of the “Look and Find” puzzle in the beloved Highlights children’s magazine.

Loker’s artwork is a small-scale reminder of the very big role that libraries, and librarians, play in the lives of college students.

This week, April 3-9, is National Library Week and the staff of Lilley Library will be celebrating with several activities, including a Board Game Day to highlight the library’s circulating game collection of games, and a Doodle/Adult Coloring Day to promote the library’s ongoing efforts to encourage students to find ways to relax, including taking study breaks for their mental health.

Additionally, library visitors will find a display of “staff picks”: books, movies, podcasts, games, and other media that help students discover new things, and maybe even connect to a staff member (“Hey, I love Star Trek, too!).

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Behrend to Host Prehistoric Egg Hunt!

cartooon dinosaur

In a big (T-Rex size) twist on the traditional Easter egg hunt, the Penn State Behrend Biology department is hosting a Prehistoric Egg Hunt for children on Saturday, April 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Kids in preschool through sixth grade are invited to sign up to participate in this fun event that will include individual dig sites to excavate plastic eggs, dinosaur-themed trivia games, fossil-making, and a recycling project to celebrate Earth Day.

Dino décor, a costumed character, dinosaur game prizes, and cookies are all part of the fun.

“I have wanted to do this event for so long,” said Dr. Beth Potter, associate professor of biology. “Kids find dinosaurs fascinating and we need to celebrate their first love in the field of biology!”

The event is free, but attendance is limited and registration – in half-hour time slots — is required. Students must be accompanied by an adult caregiver to the event, which will be held in the college’s Science Complex on the second floor of Roche Hall.

Planetarium Director Jim Gavio will be doing 15-minute presentations beginning at 11:00 a.m. about the Chicxulub Crater, a 125-mile-gash in the Yucatan Peninsula’s Gulf of Mexico created by an asteroid. Researchers have new evidence suggesting the asteroid blocked the sun’s light on earth for decades, explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs.

While you’re there, catch a show at Yahn Planetarium: The 1:00 p.m. show, “Unveiling the Invisible Universe,” for youth ages 9 and up; or the 2:30 p.m. show, “The Sky Above Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” for children ages 4 and up.

All Yahn Planetarium programs will be free on April 16.

Will Brake for Frogs, Salamanders, Newts, Spring Peepers….

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend


Why did the amphibian cross the road? To lay eggs on the other side.

The area around Penn State Behrend’s Advanced Manufactur­ing and Innovation Center (AMIC) in Knowledge Park is an amphibian’s paradise. Woods give way to marshy areas and small ponds, some tucked safely behind trees and shrubs, providing the perfect habitat for frogs, salamanders, and newts that live in woods but breed in water.

Each spring, a parade of am­phibians crosses Technology Drive and the AMIC parking lot to reach the ponds where they can lay their eggs. Many don’t make it, falling victim to vehicle traffic or plunging through the grates that cover road drainage tubes. Motorists passing by may not notice, but the faculty members and students in Behrend’s Biology program who study spotted salamanders do.

“Frankly, we’ve seen too many road-killed amphibians and egg-laden females stuck in the drains to not try to do something about it,” said Dr. Lynne Beaty, assistant professor of biology. “They’re not alone, though, as many wood frogs, red-spotted newts, and spring peepers also face those same hazards to reach breeding ponds in the spring.”

Beaty reached out to the college’s Maintenance and Operations (M&O) department with two solutions to mitigate the problem. One was to install “amphibian migration route” signs to encourage drivers to pay attention to amphibians on the asphalt. The second solution involves placing a mesh covering over the drains in the area to prevent small amphibians from falling through on their way to their breeding sites.

The signs, which were designed by senior Biology student Phoebe Will, are now installed, and a team of engineering students is working with M&O to create the mesh coverings for the drains.

“Our Maintenance and Operations group is always willing to help the college achieve its academic and research missions, especially when that involves protecting wildlife,” said Randy Geering, senior director of operations.

So, if you regularly travel Technology Drive, please go slow and keep an eye out for wildlife!


Parlez-vous Français?

 By Heather Cass, Publications Manger at Penn State Behrend

foreign language1

Do you speak French? You could learn how at Penn State Behrend, where you’ll find courses in French, German, and Spanish, as well as a class on Italian culture. Behrend’s academic offerings in global languages include a minor in Spanish and a German Studies certificate.

You can learn much more about Behrend’s language offerings during the college’s celebration of National Foreign Language Week, Monday, February 28, to Thursday, March 3.

The week’s events will include a variety of Zoom presentations on language and culture topics, making it easy to pop in from wherever you are on or off campus. See the complete schedule and get Zoom links here.

The line-up will even feature in-person events that involve food. Yum!

  • Monday, February 28, from noon to 1:00 p.m., you can sample food from different countries at World Catering Day in McGarvey Commons.
  • Wednesday, March 2, from 11:00 a.m. to noon, you can Join the Global Ambassadors in Bruno’s Café for a free taste of French cuisine and a chance to win delicious macarons.

The Behrend Blog chatted with Dr. Laurie Urraro, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, to learn more about the event and why everyone should consider learning a foreign language.

How many languages do you speak?

I am a native English speaker who is also fluent in Spanish. I speak some Portuguese and can read some French. I also understand a little Italian.

What language should students learn?

It depends on the field one enters, of course, but any foreign language is useful and will help you stand out in a job interview!

We know that it’s easiest to learn a second language as a child, but how about as a college student? College students’ minds are still developing, too, so it is not too late to learn! In fact, I would encourage anyone at any age to try to pick up another language. Just because it’s “easier” at a young age doesn’t mean it’s impossible at an older age.

Why should a student learn another language?

Here are just a few great reasons:

  • It will boost your resume. No matter what field you go into, learning a foreign language will be an “added bonus” that makes you a more attractive employee.
  • In an increasingly global world, being bilingual makes you more versatile. It also makes you more mobile as it’s easier for you to travel and explore new places.
  • It helps your English. Many languages are derived from Latin (French, Spanish, Italian), including many words in English. English is a Germanic tongue. Learning a foreign language will boost your vocabulary by familiarizing you with words that have common equivalents in other languages.
  • It makes you smarter. Research has shown that being bilingual improves cognitive skills unrelated to language.
  • It increases your cultural IQ. Studying a foreign language exposes the learner to diverse customs, ideas, and perspectives. Of course, you can still learn about other cultures without speaking the native tongue, but language learning allows for a more immersive experience.
  • It can increase your brain power: Learning a foreign language can improve your multitasking, attention, and problem-solving skills. It can also help improve your memory, which comes in handy when trying to remember the names of new contacts or clients.

Learn more about Foreign Languages Week at Behrend here.

Rough day? Take (a) note

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend


The weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester are notoriously rough for almost everyone on a college campus. Professors kick it into high gear to cover remaining material before final exams. Students scramble to stay on top of their work and study for finals. Staff and administrators work feverishly to plan for the start of the new semester that will follow break.

Penn State Behrend’s School of Science Ambassadors are no strangers to the tense atmosphere in those few weeks, so they decided to toss a little sodium hydride into the water with a bunch of eye-catching colorful sticky notes plastered on the glass walls in the breezeway between the Otto Behrend building and the Science Complex.

“At our first Science Ambassadors meeting this year, we discussed doing something fun to brighten up the science buildings,” said Lauren Barmore, a senior Biology major, who helped spearhead the project. “There was a group of four of us who put the wall up the Friday before Thanksgiving break. We wanted it to be a surprise for the students when they returned.”

The students who wrote the initial notes—Barmore, Taylor Romania, Briona Bargerstock, and Jacob Kessler—penned notes that reflect the material taught in the School of Science.

“We wanted to put our own spin on it,” Barmore said. “A lot of our professors put jokes and memes into their learning materials, so we were sort of influenced by them.”

The messages on the notes range from inspirational to encouraging to laugh-out-loud funny. Most contain math or science references guaranteed to make readers chuckle:


Or groan:


Or, if they are non-science majors, scratch their heads.:


A similar display of sticky notes can be found in the stairwell in the Reed Union Building. That project began several years ago and continues. thanks to the college’s Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) club.

It’s a popular campus feature and one that Barmore has used.

“I always loved taking notes from the RAK stairwell and giving them to my friends before exams or if they were having a rough day, or needed a laugh,” she said. “I’ve found that the smallest acts of empathy or service can have a big effect on people. We wanted to bring some of that color and joy to our side of campus.”

The notes are meant to be shared and to multiply: A container of sticky notes and pens hangs in the middle of the display, inviting anyone to share a note or joke or drawing. Take what you need. Leave what you want to say.

“We hope people enjoy reading them as much as we did writing them,” Barmore said.

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Raise a Toast to Lake Erie: Faculty members partner with brewery and PA Sea Grant to raise awareness of aquatic invasive species

By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend

On a sunny August Saturday, a half dozen fans are lined up in front of the Mysterysnail Speedway, a four-foot plastic box with plexiglass dividers creating race lanes for a field of ten large snails. They place their “bets” and cheer for their chosen snail, each marked with a race number on its shell.

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As the oversized gastropod invaders make their way to the finish line, Dr. Lynne Beaty, assistant professor of biology at Penn State Behrend, explains why we don’t want them in our waterways.

“Mysterysnails are so named because females produce young, fully developed snails that ’mysteriously‘ appear. They’re a group of invasive species that originate in Asia but have found their way to Lake Erie,” Beaty said. “They compete with native species, alter nutrient ratios, and transmit parasites to wildlife.”


Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that harm the environment, the economy, and human and animal health. They are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and native communities of other species, and they can spread easily through unwitting human assistance and connected waterways.

Beaty and two other Biology faculty members, Dr. Adam Simpson and Dr. Sam Nutile, have been working with Kristen McAuley, lecturer in marketing, and Sara Stahlman, extension leader for Pennsylvania Sea Grant, to raise awareness about invasive snails (and other species) in the waters around the Erie region. Last summer, the team came up with a novel idea to reach adults: craft beer.

“Good beer needs high-quality, clean water and invasive species threaten our freshwater supply,” Beaty said. “So we thought a collaboration with Erie Brewing Company in Behrend’s Knowledge Park was a great way to promote AIS awareness because controlling invasive species can help improve water quality. We were thinking too that this might be an excellent way to reach adult audiences who are more likely to accidentally transfer AIS when they move boats to different water bodies.”

The group met with Erie Brewing’s brewmaster, Tate Warren, who was on board with creating a ‘draft series’ of special AIS-themed brews for invasive species awareness.


The first, Mysterysnail Ale, “an amber ale loaded with flavors of bread, biscuit, and caramel malt,” debuted at a launch party, complete with the aforementioned mysterysnail racing, at Erie Brewing. Visitors had the opportunity to try a new brew and also learn about many AIS at tables manned by Behrend School of Science faculty members and staff members from Sea Grant, a research, education, and outreach program administered by Behrend.

The event was well-attended, and the Mysterysnail Ale was well-received. It currently has a 3.6-star review (out of five) on, a website where beer lovers rate and review brews.

Three more brews are planned in the AIS series: a Round Goby Rye, a Zebra Mussel Malt, and a Hazy Hydrilla. Each beer will launch with an event to raise awareness of the AIS the brew is meant to thwart.

In addition, for each of the beers, a promotional poster will be developed that will highlight the beer, the flavor, and the facts about the highlighted species. QR codes on the posters, which will be displayed at Erie Brewing  and other locations on the Lake Erie Ale Trail, will lead users to even more information about the featured AIS.

Mysterysnail Ale is currently on tap at Erie Brewing and other participating Ale Trail breweries, including Lavery Brewing, Arundel Cellars and Brewing, Twisted Elk Brewing, Brewerie at Union Station, Nostrovia, and Erie Ale Works. For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit

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Wilson Picnic Grove: Tribute to Love and Kindness

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend

Before Penn State Behrend became a college, it was a country estate owned by Hammermill Paper Company founder, Ernst Behrend, and his wife, Mary (pictured above). The two built Glenhill farmhouse—and many of the outbuildings that remain today—as  a fresh-air reprieve from life on the East Lake Road mill property, which could be, well, odiferous. (In those days, factory owners often lived on the plant property or next door.)

At the “farm,” the Behrends and their children, Warren and Harriet, kept goats and chickens, raised German shepherds (including the renowned Bruno, for whom the café in Reed Building is named), rode horses along the bridle path into Wintergreen Gorge, and picnicked in a wooded spot near Trout Run.

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Years after Mary Behrend donated her property to Penn State to establish Penn State Behrend, a longtime Hammermill employee, Norman W. Wilson, who recalled fondly many picnics with Ernst and Mary, donated the funds to build – you guessed it –Wilson Picnic Grove, a rustic shelter with a wood-burning fireplace tucked in the shade of tall trees and overlooking a tributary of Fourmile Creek.

Wilson donated the shelter in memory of his wife, Flora Nick Wilson, who had died two years earlier in 1969. Like many couples, they met at work. Flora was a private secretary for Ernst Behrend, and Norman was a young man Ernst had taken under his wing.

Norman had started his career at Hammermill as a millhand and office mailboy at the age of sixteen after having attended just a year of high school at East High in Erie. By twenty-nine, he was vice president of the company, a feat that a September 1970 Erie Times-News article called “a Horatio Alger-type story seldom equaled in Erie history.”

Wilson News story

In that 1970 article, Wilson was quoted as saying, “I’ll never forget the kind reception I got from Ernst R. Behrend the day I went to see him about a job. I had a letter of introduction from a minister, but remember that I was just a young boy, not even through high school. Yet he treated me as a man and put me to work.”

Wilson spent his entire career working for Hammermill, and after Mary donated Glenhill Farm to Penn State, he became involved in the college, as well, serving on the Behrend Campus Advisory Board.

Members of the board conceived of the idea of a picnic shelter, wanting to encourage use of one of the most beautiful spots on campus. But recognizing the greater need for athletic and academic facilities at the growing college, they felt they couldn’t ask the University for funds to take on a recreational project.

That’s when Wilson stepped up and asked to build the pavilion as a memorial to his late wife who had loved the outdoors.

The Flora Nick Wilson Grove and Pavilion was dedicated on November 9, 1971, to the “enjoyment of the students, faculty, and friends of the Behrend Campus.” Photos from the dedication show snow covering the ground around the shelter, which was filled with wooden folding chairs and guests, including Norman Wilson who spoke warmly about his former boss, his wife, and his hopes for the future.

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“I could not feel comfortable about participating in this ceremony without expressing my respect and affection for Mr. Ernst R. Behrend, after whom this campus is named,” Wilson said  at the dedication. “It was he who gave me my first job at Hammermill. It was he who introduced me to his lovely private secretary, who was destined to become my Guiding Star, for always.”

“Mrs. Wilson loved the outdoors. She contrived impromptu picnics on the shortest conceivable notice. She rarely missed the early morning breakfast rides, or late moonlight supper rides on the Arizona ranch we liked best. She loved to motor, and to take her turn at the wheel. In her youth, she played basketball, fenced, golfed, and skated. She ran a tight house (and that included me!) She shopped, was a marvelous cook, and gave a great party. She liked people and they liked her.”

“Now, may I record my pride in everything about the Behrend Campus, including the students, the faculty, the advisory board, the director and the tremendous progress that has been made already. It is my fervent hope that the students, faculty, and friends will indeed find enjoyment in the frequent use of this memorial, and that the fellowship and goodwill for which this campus has become noted, will be enhanced thereby.”

Norman W. Wilson died July 5, 1979 at 94, but his generosity and spirit lives on at Behrend in the quaint shelter along Trout Run. He’d love it if you’d picnic there soon. It’s beautiful in any season.

Wilson Picnic Grove in 2021

Special thanks to Jane Ingold, instructional librarian and archivist at Penn State Behrend, who provided the background photos and articles for this story. Ingold has spent many years documenting the college’s history, assembling a treasure trove of memorabilia and recollections in Lilley Library.