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Penn State Seniors Show Their Pride By Choosing Historic Light Restoration Project For Class Gift Of 2001
October 31, 2000
University Park, Pa.–Penn State seniors have voted to light the campus walkways with "shepherd’s crook" lamps that evoke times past as their gift to the University. The gift will provide for installing lamps along The Mall that will be modeled on turn-of-the-century walk lights that had lined the area of campus known on the National Historical Register as "The Old Campus Complex."

"The theme that the senior class gift committee chose this year is ‘For the Future… We Pledge Our Pride,’" said Erika London, chair of the senior class gift committee. "We wanted to leave our mark in a way that shows the unity among our class. The historic lighting reflects our pride and unity because we’re celebrating the history and uniqueness of the University. I’ve heard a lot of enthusiasm for this gift, and I expect there will be a lot of excitement for it."

Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant will work with LaFace and McGovern Associates Inc., a lighting manufacturer representative, to custom design the lights so the fixture style is crafted in a unique way suitable to Penn State’s University Park campus. The Lighting Master Plan Project, to be initiated soon, will determine the extent of the historical areas where the shepherd’s crook style of walk lights will be used.

"We’ll probably do a little modeling on the lights to meet today’s standards, and in keeping with the ‘dark sky philosophy,’" said John Joseph, a senior landscape architect at Penn State and the person who originally proposed the idea to the senior class gift committee. "There is a movement in this county to not light up the skies, but to use light more efficiently–to push the light down and spread it out, instead of pushing it up and into the sky."

This allows outdoor lighting to provide well-lit and safer walkways while not detracting from the dark skies that make stargazing possible, according to Joseph.

Lights will first be installed on The Mall running from the Allen Street Gateway to Pollock Road and, depending on the money available, installed in the rest of the National Historic Register area. The shepherd’s crook light might then be used as a prototype for replacing lights throughout the historical part of campus, according to Joseph.

This year marked the first time at Penn State that seniors could vote for their class gift on-line. Altogether, in-person and on-line votes for the lights beat out two other items on the ballot: a publication endowment to the Penn State Press and support for a library in the soon-to-be-built Career Services Building.

Funding for senior class gifts are raised through members of the senior class pledging the balance of their general deposit, according to London. General deposits, which are $50 for classes entering before Nov. 1999, are held by the University for each student to cover unforeseen expenses, fees and emergency costs.

Penn State seniors have been making class gifts to the University for more than 100 years. At their reunion in 1890, seniors from the class of 1861 gave the University a portrait of Evan Pugh, Penn State’s first president, that continues to hang in the lobby of Old Main. More recent gifts include a Peace Garden from the class of 1997 and two aquariums in the HUB-Robeson Center from the class of 1999.

For a look at what each senior class has given, visit the list on the web at:


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