Penn State Intercom......April 12 , 2001

On the road again

Annual bus tour to
head southeast in May

By Annemarie Mountz
Public Information

New faculty who choose to participate in this year's Road Scholars tour will be in for several treats, as the sixth annual bus tour winds its way through the southeastern part of Pennsylvania May 6-8.

The two-and-a-half-day tour will give participants a glimpse of the variety of attractions, businesses and communities found in Pennsylvania, as well as a look at how the University contributes to this statewide community through its mission of teaching, research and outreach.

"It's important that faculty be acquainted with the Commonwealth campuses and with the various regions served by the University," said President Graham B. Spanier. "The best way to do this is for them to see the impact the University has on the state first-hand."

Spanier organized the first tour in 1996, after his own statewide tour to all of the campuses. He heard so many positive comments that he decided to make it an annual event.

Joseph Fennewald, head librarian at Penn State Hazleton, joined the tour last year.

"Being new to Penn State and new to Pennsylvania, I was struck by the admiration the University has in the eyes of the businessmen, community leaders, citizens and congressmen that we met."

Past tours have covered the western, central and northeastern portions of the state. This year, the tour concentrates on the southeastern corner.

This year's tour begins at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, May 6, as participants gather at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus for ice breaker activities and lunch. They'll board buses at 1:30 p.m. and head to The Hershey Medical Center. After a tour and dinner, the group will continue on to Penn State Berks, where it will spend the night.

Monday's leg of the tour will drive through Valley Forge State Park and visit Lockheed Martin, Management and Data Systems in King of Prussia; the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia; Independence Mall; an urban garden site in Philadelphia; and Penn State Abington.

On Tuesday, the group will have breakfast at Penn State Great Valley; tour Longwood Gardens, one of the world's premier horticultural display gardens; visit the Brandywine River Museum, home of an unparalleled collection of works by three generations of Wyeths; tour the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg; and return to State College.

The tour has had a lasting effect on its participants, and tends to broaden their view of the state and the University's role in it.

"One of the things I took away from the tour was an appreciation for the diversity of the state," said Brad Thompson, assistant professor in the College of Communications, who was on the tour in 1997. "Penn State can provide outreach across a vast range from urban to rural, industrial to agricultural, but it also can draw on the vast and diverse resources of Pennsylvania."

Thompson said that he was so impressed with the tour, his wife decided to sign up for the tour the following year.

"She loved it, too, and met a number of faculty members with whom we have socialized since then," he said. "The tour is a great way to meet people outside your discipline, and to help newcomers -- whether junior or senior faculty -- become integrated more rapidly into the Penn State community."

There is no cost to faculty participating in the tour; transportation, meals and lodging are provided by the Office of the President.

For more information or to register for the tour, call (800) 778-8632. Registration deadline is April 20.

Annemarie Mountz can be reached at