Alumni Association’s Greater Chicago Chapter primed for Nittany Lions visit

John Patishnock
October 05, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A big-time opportunity awaits Penn Staters traveling to Northwestern this weekend for the game between the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions and the Wildcats.

That’s true for the football team, and also just as accurate for the hundreds of alumni, fans and friends who will attend the Friday night mixer that’s co-hosted by the Alumni Association and its Greater Chicago Chapter. The latter group has been planning for this weekend since February, or in other words, shortly after last season ended.

And for good reason.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity for the chapter,” said Ed Chicoski, Greater Chicago Chapter president and 2009 IST graduate. “I think it really showcases bringing Penn Staters together, and the reach Penn Staters have locally and broadly within the Midwest.”

Added Bob Nagy, past chapter president and 1983 electrical engineering graduate: “We are always looking to deliver great experiences for our chapter members. A weekend like this helps us to expand our reach and hopefully add to the number of active members (almost 500 here in Chicago alone).”

Nagy, who was in the first class of Lion Ambassadors, noted that the chapter hosts more than 60 events a year, with Friday night’s mixer one of the “spotlight events,” along with their THON and spring scholarship fundraisers. 

Friday night’s event is at the Chicago Sports Museum, “an interactive museum right in the heart of Michigan Avenue,” by Chicoski’s description. The chapter has secured the entire venue for the night, giving Penn Staters plenty of opportunity to get energized for the game while also tapping into Chicago’s vibrant sports history.

The event sold out with more than 200-plus people planning to attend, and the chapter partnered with Penn State Undergraduate Admissions, buying game tickets for prospective students. “We try to provide a top-rate experience for everyone who is coming to support our Nittany Lion team here in Chicago,” Nagy said.

A few years ago, the group hosted a rooftop event before another Northwestern football game, and received tons of great feedback, Nagy said, and like Chicoski, he said they’re expecting both local alumni and Penn Staters who are visiting. It’s an opportunity to expand membership, or simply to make a few introductions and share some information.

Greater Chicago Chapter_THON fundraiser photo

The Greater Chicago Chapter raised $13,200 during its annual THON in the Second City fundraiser, held this year at River Roast in Chicago's River North Neighborhood. Learn more about the THON fundraiser and how you can get involved by visiting the chapter's website

IMAGE: Greater Chicago Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association

“We say we’re a great forum to meet other people, learn about the city, and get move involved,” said Chicoski, who grew up in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area and always wanted to attend Penn State.  

He’s lived in Chicago for nearly a decade, securing a job shortly out of college. He’s a Penn Stater at heart, while also speaking of Chicago like a second home. First-time visitors will sometimes think of the Windy City as a mini-New York, he said, though that’s not really the vibe.

Lakefront views await tailgaters and a “picturesque suburb” surrounds Northwestern’s campus, Chicoski said, adding that it’s really something the way Chicago showcases itself in the fall. Add that the Cubs are in the playoffs — and Penn State’s coming to town undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the country — and expectations are that this weekend will be memorable.

“I love hearing people’s first reactions that Chicago is amazing,” Chicoski said. “That’s always very cool to hear, and coupled with the fact that they’re visiting Chicago for a Penn State game enhances that comment.”

Chicoski previously served as service chair and vice president for two years each before taking over as president. He’s quick to note the strong backing that he receives from the chapter’s board of directors, who help oversee one of the most active of the Alumni Association’s 300-plus affiliate groups.

Nagy said that the chapter offers a little something for everyone, from football viewing parties to networking events, including get-togethers that are geared toward children. The Chicago Chapter emphasizes community service, both in their messaging and their actions. Chicoski pointed to the group partnering with the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Chicago YSA, local Ronald McDonald House Charities, and with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

As Nagy noted, the group is more than 700 miles from University Park, so “anytime we get Penn State teams involved in local events, we, as a chapter, try to come out in large numbers to support them.”

Editor’s note: The Alumni Association and a local alumni chapter traditionally co-host a mixer the night before each away football game. Stay updated and follow the Greater Chicago Chapter on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and join the group’s LinkedIn page to learn more about how you can become involved. You can also visit the Alumni Association’s website to find an alumni group near you.

  • Greater Chicago Chapter_Big Ten 10K photo

    Pictured here during the annual BTN Big 10K, the Penn State Alumni Association's Greater Chicago Chapter will co-host an alumni mixer Friday night at the Chicago Sports Museum, “an interactive museum right in the heart of Michigan Avenue,” by president Ed Chicoski’s description. The chapter has secured the entire venue for the night, giving Penn Staters the opportunity to get energized for Saturday's game while also tapping into Chicago’s vibrant sports history.

    IMAGE: Greater Chicago Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 05, 2017