It is not about the statue.
It is about the truth. It is about our reputation, our integrity. It is about making Penn State the world’s leading University.
There are many candidates and people who are talking about Joe’s statue. When is it going to be put back by the stadium? If it does not go back by the stadium, where will they put it?
Honoring Joe is about so much more than a statue.
Honoring Joe is about the relentless pursuit of excellence in everything Penn State does and in everything that we do as Penn State graduates. It is breaking down the barriers that confront you, striving for excellence, never quitting and continuous improvement. It is about guts, hard work, determination and perseverance.
Penn State is at a unique point in its history. We have the students, the faculty, the alumni, the visibility, the cutting edge research and infrastructure to lead in evolution of higher education.
1) The #39 ranked University in the world
2) The leading online degree granting program – World Campus
3) #1 with recruiters
5) A Top 20 Research and Development University
6) A leader in Fulbright scholars
These are great achievements – and my thanks and appreciation go to everyone who helped make them possible. We can, and must do better.
The world is growing more competitive every day. Higher education will change more in the next five years than it did in the last fifty. We need to rise to meet this challenge and take advantage of the opportunity it provides. We do not have the luxury of time.
We need to take action immediately:
1) Invest in our top academic programs
2) Ensure World Campus can scale rapidly with exceptional quality
3) Increase scholarship aid for top students
4) Recruit leading Faculty and Researchers
5) Create a culture of innovation and risk-taking
“We have got to start right now to put our energies together to make this a Number One institution . . . . I don’t think that’s an unfounded or a way-out objective . . . . We need an environment of dissent and freedom of speech and freedom to expresss new and controversial ideas . . . . We need more controversy, . . . we need more people to come to use with different ideas . . . . We can’t be afraid, too reactionary to new and disturbing ideas. . . .
We need vibrant, aggressive, brilliant teachers and scholars. . . . We need to give them the resources to grow and the freedom to challenge some of the old ideas and old conceptions. . . . I’m only anxious to get on with some other things to make it even bigger and better, not in a sense of size, but in the context of quality and influence in this country”  and the world.
Putting up a statue is easy. Living up to the standards that statue embodies – now that is a challenge – and one I welcome. Join me in this challenge. Together we can make Penn State the world’s leading University.
 Joe Paterno speech to the Penn State Board of Trustees, 1983