The 10 Question Game
Let’s get to know our Alumni Council Representatives
Photo: Kim Intorre
Susan K Wilson
Alumni Council Member 2015-2017
Susan Wilson By The Numbers
Number of Penn Staters, including she and her husband, who live in her neighborhood near Hudson, Ohio.
Number of miles from her house to the Pennsylvania state line.
Odometer reading on her custom Penn State minivan, that she drives all around Ohio.
Question #1: You were on Alumni Council in the 1990’s for two terms. (1991-1996). You’ve worked tirelessly at the local chapter level, and have written a bestselling cookbook that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Alumni Association. Yet instead of resting on your laurels, you decided to run for another term, and won.
Why did you come back?
Because history must mean something. The work that has been done for decades, that has made the Penn State alumni Association what it is, should not be for naught. Recent changes to the by-laws make it obvious that the alumni members are being blatantly disenfranchised. The power of the Alumni Council is going to a few, the Executive Board, the Executive Committee, the president and the president elect. I believe, as a long time chapter leader, that the power belongs in the hands of the alumni at large.
The power is being grabbed from the top, and they are disenfranchising those at the bottom and the masses. The 170,000 alumni who are members of the association no longer have a direct say in who the officers of their organization will be. That’s wrong.
That’s why I’m back.
Question #2: This or that: 50 yard line or club level?
Neither! I like my seats in EG, where I can roar with the crowd. It’s fairly close to the end zone, a lot of stuff happens there, and I’d rather be out there, rain or shine or snow. It’s my favorite place.
Question #4: Karen Peetz, Dave Joyner and Ken Frazier are in a sinking lifeboat, and you can only rescue one. Would you: eat your lunch or read the newspaper?
I’d eat my lunch and savor watching them go under.
Question #5: In it’s 2013-2015 Strategic Plan, the Penn State Alumni Association has a list of goals, among them: accelerate membership growth (#1), manage crisis impacts (#2), strengthen revenue streams (#3), enhance diversity (#5), and strengthen alumni engagement (#6). Yet nowhere in this plan is there mention of supporting and working with the local chapters to help achieve these goals.
Yup. I’m on the Membership Committee, and having come up through the ranks of the regional chapter leadership, I know that the local chapters are what drove membership growth and donations.
It’s critical that we pair with them, and chapters all over the world, to make these goals happen, but I don’t see a clear plan for the future of chapter growth in the overall plan of the Alumni Association. Several of those strategic goals deal with building membership or drawing members in to participate more with the AA, and you can’t do that without reaching out to the huge network of the established chapters and supporting them fully.
Support has historically included mailings, Penn State things to hand out at parties, freshman send-offs, scholarship fund raisers, and these clubs are not seeing that come in any more. It’s as if the support from PSAA and Penn state itself has vanished completely. The other thing clubs aren’t getting is enough accurate information about known alumni in the area – zip code, name and by class year – in a timely way. How are they supposed to get alumni involved if they don’t even know who’s in their own backyard?
SAT Question #6:
You are the co-author of Cookin’ With The Lion – A Pinch of Blue, a Pinch of White (1988) , a collection of recipes that is the Penn State tailgating bible.
There are 275 recipes in this cookbook. If you made one batch of everything in the cookbook, how many pounds of butter would you need?
You have to understand, we did this in 1987, people loved butter back then. 45 pounds?
Question #7: Finish the sentence: When I am appointed President of Penn State University, I’m going to hold an assembly in Beaver Stadium and tell the students:
“Penn State is the sum and total of all of you, where you have been, where you are now, AND where you are going. AND everyone who has stood in your shoes as a student for over 100 years, all the alumni. That’s who WE ARE.
The alma mater reminds us that WE ARE all important, each and every one of us.”
Question #8: Who do you want to be when you grow up?
Suzanne Pohland Paterno
Question #9: You are famous for designing and making huge banners for the football games that have become legend. What is your design process? Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from the person who I’m designing the flag for. They sometimes have very specific requests, like what they serve at their tailgate. There are standard parts, like the family’s name running vertically down the left margin side of the banner; the top usually says WE ARE, and the bottom usually says Penn State Tailgate. The size is pretty standard.
What goes in the long center varies by individual taste. The first one I did was my own, it says WE ARE and Penn state tailgate, with the Nittany Lion in 3D. I have made several that have been donated for Smeal College of Business scholarship fundraisers.
Question #9: There are actually two lions that we know of on the Penn State campus; one is the Nittany Lion, but the other is Alphie the lion. Who is Alphie the lion?
Alphie the lion is the mascot of Alpha Delta Pi, my sorority. Our colors are blue and white and he’s our symbol. They are now in South, but when I was in school we were in Pollock. It was pretty small when I was there, then it went inactive in the 1980’s, then was recolonized and is now going very strong.
Question #10: Never Have I Ever… dyed my hair:
Directions: Hold up all the fingers on one hand. When you hear a statement that is not true you put one finger down.
1. Blue and white
2. Chestnut brown
3. Scarlett and grey
4. Maize and blue
5. Pink, to salute breast cancer survivors