Intercom Online......August 19, 1999

Ridge invites nation's governors
to Penn State in summer 2000

Last week Gov. Tom Ridge invited the nation's governors and their families to visit Pennsylvania -- selected as the host state of the 92nd Annual Meeting of the National Governors' Association (NGA) in 2000. State College, home to the University Park campus, will serve as the host city for this gubernatorial summit from July 8-11, 2000.

Ridge delivered the invitation -- along with more than 1,200 servings of Penn State's famous "Peachy Paterno" Creamery ice cream -- to governors attending the closing session of the 91st Annual Meeting of the NGA in St. Louis. The ice cream, which was shipped by FedEx in 13 large coolers with more than 500 pounds of dry ice, was used by Ridge to give his colleagues from other states a small taste of what State College has to offer.

"I am proud to invite the nation's governors and their families to the first NGA meeting of the 21st century," Ridge said. "It is entirely appropriate that the nation's governor's should begin the new century in the 'New Pennsylvania.' From the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, and now in the high-tech revolution, Pennsylvania is forging its place as a leader among states and a competitor among nations."

Each year, the NGA hosts two major meetings. The association's winter meeting is held in Washington, D.C., while its summer meeting is held at sites throughout the nation. The annual meetings allow both Democratic and Republican governors from every state to discuss common state problems and possible solutions, and to help shape and implement national policy. State College and Penn State will be in the national spotlight for four days next year.

The focus of next year's meeting will be helping states adapt to the rapidly changing forces of technology, according to Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, who is incoming chairman of the NGA. Leavitt will preside over next summer's meeting in State College, which is expected to draw between 1,200 and 1,500 participants. According to the Centre County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the conference could contribute more than $1 million to the state's economy.

This year in St. Louis, 45 governors attended the meeting, along with their families and an estimated 1,500 staff and guests, about 300 journalists and hordes of local volunteers. State College was chosen as the site for 2000 by the NGA's Executive Committee last September over three other cities. Pennsylvania has been the site of the NGA meeting on three other occasions: the governors met in Harrisburg in 1920 and in Hershey in 1962 and 1972.

University President Graham B. Spanier said it was a "great honor" for Penn State to join with State College and Pennsylvania in hosting the nation's leaders, and that the University would provide an ideal environment to confront the challenges of the coming century.

Founded in 1908, NGA is a bipartisan national organization representing governors from all 50 states and the commonwealths of the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

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