Penn State Ice Cream Celebrates Obama Inauguration

Penn State supplies 'BaRocky Road' ice cream for inaugural gala

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A decadent spoonful of Penn State's BaRocky Road ice cream is examined at the University's Berkey Creamery. BaRocky Road

From the Penn State public relations office:

University Park, Pa. — When Barack Obama made a campaign visit to Penn State during the primaries last March — which included a stop at the Dairy Research Center, where he bottle-fed a calf — it was way too premature to order ice

cream from the University's legendary creamery for his inauguration.

But it turns out he didn't need to. Taking note of Obama's interest in dairy, and following up on a tip from inside the Beltway, the University's College of Agricultural Sciences has taken care of everything, coming up with three flavors to honor the president-elect and his new administration: "BaRocky Road," "Obama White House" and "BidenBerry." They will be served at the 2009 Pennsylvania Inaugural Gala the evening of Jan. 20.

Known around the world for its fabulous ice cream, Penn State's Berkey Creamery — the largest on-campus creamery in the country — has a tradition of concocting special flavors to commemorate significant events and famous people, such as football coach Joe Paterno (Peachy Paterno). In 2000, when the National Governors Association held its summer meeting at Penn State, the creamery made "Ridge's Road" ice cream for then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, and ended up selling it in the creamery salesroom for a few years.

Creamery manager Tom Palchak noted that he shipped 40 tubs, or 120 gallons, of the special flavors for the inaugural ball to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

" 'BaRocky Road' is a rocky road or tin roof sundae flavor, vanilla ice cream with chunky add-ins such as peanuts, brownies, candy and chocolate swirl," he said. " 'Obama White House' is vanilla ice cream with maraschino cherries, and 'BidenBerry' is vanilla ice cream with red raspberry variegate through it."

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JMU vs PSU… Or Dogs vs Cats… Take One

Since I have transplanted myself from dog-land (JMU) to cat-land (PSU) I have been comparing the two. Honestly in most ways they come out even. Same kind of school spirit. Same kind of students (nice, smart, friendly, hold doors for others, hard partiers, etc). Same small town feel.

But I have found two big differences so far. Let me elaborate:

1) Parking.
No one complains about parking at PSU. There are not legions of parking police crawling every inch of every parking lot writing tickets. Students do not wait in line for 30 minutes in parking lots waiting for a space to open up. There is not an us versus them mentality. In fact, parking at Penn State seems to be very functional and well thought out. Amazing for a school twice the size. After observing this seemingly miraculous condition for a semester I think it is because (1) a large percentage of the students/faculty/staff walk, ride bikes, or take the bus to campus. A large percentage. And (2) The bus system, both on and off campus, works well is dependable and reliable. It's not free into the city ($1.25 per ride) but a lot of people do it every day without complaint.

Score one for the cats.


2) Inclement Weather.
Well, JMU wins this one hands down. Take today, for example. We are in an ice storm. Full blown ice storm. Not snow. Ice. Covering everything. Thick. And is Penn State closed? Nope. Was it delayed? Nope. Will it close early? Nope. Crazy. JMU would have closed last night at the announcement of an ice storm. Ha ha. The best Penn State can cough up is an announcement to keep your cars out of the parking lot after midnight so the physical plant folks can clear them without obstacles every few feet. Umm hmmm… Yep. They're hard core up here. JMU wins. No contest, really. I will miss the 5-10 snow days each year.

Score one for the dogs.


Contest so far: All tied up with an edge towards the dogs. Snow days are awesome.

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Letter to Friends Back Home…

…posted here because I think it gives a pretty good overall assessment of my life these days and now my family can be in the loop too.

Wow. It's October. (Well, almost, anyway.) That means I have officially survived the first six weeks of grad school. And in one way or another, I have all of you to thank for that. It has been a heck of a transition and in some ways I'm only now beginning to feel stable. In other ways I'm still shaky and overwhelmed. But in all ways I feel happy and content and convinced this was the right decision.

The program has created the most stress and dissonance in my life by far. Looking around at my cohort I feel very blessed to have been selected for admission. It's humbling. They are a tremendously smart and talented group and I feel like a ten year old in high school on most days. The hardest part on a day to day basis has been trying to stay on top of all the readings. Oh. My. Goodness. Can I just tell you I have about 800 pages of journal articles (two pages per sheet) plus six textbooks.Just finishing the reading is a challenge but the expectation is, of course, to not just absorb it but be able to critique it critically and contribute in class. Eek! Just to give you an idea, I am regularly reading until 10-11pm two nights per week and spending about 21 hours in the library from Friday-Sunday. It's hard but worthwhile because we all know what a big mouth I have in class (or meetings) and I need to overcompensate at this point so that I feel confident enough to be able to contribute. This coming week is my first "hell week" with an assignment due in each class. Which leads me to…

Classes… I am taking three: two from a quantitative/empirical perspective one from a qualitative/critical-cultural perspective. That highlights what was the first big learning curve- everything is from a research perspective. Seeing as how I don't have much of a research background that was quite a mental hurdle. I didn't even know what the difference was between qualitative and quantitative when I got here and I still don't know which direction I will eventually choose to focus. But I'm learning new words such as hegemonic and polysemy, explication and operational definition. Woohoo! Yippee! If you're really nice I just might tell you what they mean then you can shout yippee too. The two quantitative classes are research methods and proseminar. Research methods is the big scary one that everyone was talking about before classes even started. I think it's going ok, but we have a mid-term coming up in two weeks which I think will highlight just how shaky I am in the terminology and concepts. Our class is already planning study sessions – power in numbers! In the proseminar we started historically way back with the Greek philosophers are are just now getting up into the mid-1900's. My favorite class is the qualitative one though – TV Studies. Yes, we are studying tv, but it's not easy. In some ways this has been the toughest class and I actually went home and cried after the second session because I couldn't even understand the QUESTIONS in class, let alone be able to provide answers. Sigh… This class has been the catalyst for the long hours in the library and obsessive study habits. It showed me just how steep my learning curve is and how hard I will have to work to get on an even playing field. So, I'm in there swinging. Studying and swinging.

Graduate Assistanship… First I have to say how much I'm enjoyng being a worker bee again. My boss is awesome and very smart. He has 23 years of experience and more ideas than there are bees in a hive. His excitement and enthusiasm rivals my own so we get each other worked up. lol… It's pretty funny and a good fit. The surprising thing is I'm working in the distance learning arm of Penn State (called the World Campus) and really enjoying it. Honestly, I never thought I'd say that. I had lots of doubts about distance learning and its effectiveness as a learning environment. But I am slowly being convinced that it CAN be very challenging and produce as much learning as a traditional face to face classroom. Of course there are bad teachers online just as there are bad teachers in the classroom, but I am beginning to be exposed to tools and techniques that make for a very rich environment. How about that? Who knew? Maybe one of these days I'll end up teaching online. It could happen. My boss and I are an office of two. Ha! We are the brand spanking new Faculty Development arm which was created in April and my boss came on board as Director in June. We are trying to get some programs off the ground as quickly as possible which has created yet another steep learning curve for me. I'm not only having to learn about distance learning, but faculty development models as well. So far, so good, I think.

Finally, life… Life is good. I've started running again for the first time in five years. I filled up my car the other day for the first time in six weeks. I feel good. I love State College and Penn State which is pretty much JMU on steroids. It has the same brand of nice people, school spirit, party-hard/work-hard environment. The students are smart, the football stadium is mind-boggling big, the ice cream is delicious, and the weather is lovely (so far, anyway). I still read the JMU website and follow the news on the CAA Zone message boards. My JMU moles still fill me in on the news and updates (Steve Grande – boo!) I lost my voice cheering the Dukes on against App State last weekend and still wear my purple windbreakers pretty much every day in the office.

 I want to thank you all with every part of my being for your support, teachings, and encouragement from the time I started my career at JMU as a student all the way through this moumental change in my life. I think about you all often and miss you a lot. I hope you are all doing well, happy and healthy. Please get in touch if you are ever in the area. I'm hoping to get down to JMU to visit sometime before Christmas.

Miss you and take care!
🙂 Stevie

P.S. Sorry this is so long and feel free to forward it to anyone else you think might be interested.
P.P.S. I still haven't sold my house so let me know if you know someone who is looking!

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JMU visits PSU

My friends came up last weekend… yay! Here are some highlights:

… visiting every landmark and photo opp at Penn State
… arriving just as 107,000 people exited the football stadium. That is a LOT of people in case you were wondering.
… really good Indian food, really good pizza, and really bad bar food (and service)
… driving around on Saturday night yelling the "We are… Penn State" cheer out the car windows.
… watching the JMU football team whoop #1 App State's booty on TV. We are now #1. Yesssssssss!
… ice cream run at 10 pm
… probably lots of other stuff I'm forgetting.

Enjoy this photo tour of the weekend…

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