Local Penn State Grad Speaks Out

By Maureen Mespell
By Rachel Martin


3 photos

July 18, 2012 Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A local woman who graduated from Penn State University, weighs in on the scandal surrounding her alma mater.

Kayla Blakeslee says the people at Penn State University still have a lot of pride, but it’s the people outside who have negative feelings.

Blakeslee is the afternoon traffic and news anchor on WOWO News radio. She graduated from Penn State in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications. She says she hasn't been back since, but keeps in touch with people there. Sespite the stigma surrounding the school, she says there's still a strong love for Joe Paterno and the university.

“The love for Joe Pa and for Penn State is still there, even despite everything that’s happened” Blakeslee said. “But my friends that didn’t go there, or even people around work or friends outside of work, they’re almost disgusted by it.”

However, she says when she wears Penn State gear around town people immediately ask about Sandusky and Paterno. Although she’s currently employed, Blakeslee says going to Penn State could possibly hurt her down the line if she ever looks for another job.

“’Oh well tell me about Sandusky,’ that’s immediately what I get,” she said. “Whether that hurts me or not I’m not really quite sure but I guess I don’t find that to be a positive thing for me.”

Blakeslee says her main concern now, is talk about tearing down the statue of Joe Pa.

“I feel like people forget that yes he left a football legacy, but he added so much to not only the school but also the community, and built a legacy right there in Happy Valley,” she said. “I just think it's sad that they're talking about taking that down when they're forgetting it's not just about football, it's about the whole university and the community that he did contribute to.”

As for talk of shutting down the football program, Blakeslee says she’s on the fence, but thinks it will probably happen.

“I’m concerned about the outcome of what might happen to Penn State and how long it will take after that to get back on their feet,” she said. “It’s already going to be a process, but then if they wipe that out for a year or two or whatever they decide, it could be trouble.”

Regardless of it all, Blakeslee says she’s still proud she went there.

“I’m not condoning what happened, however I’m still proud to say I went to Penn State. At the end of the day, I didn’t choose to go there because of the football program, I chose to go there for the education that could be offered to me,” she said. “I’m still not ashamed that I went there.”

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