Paterno Anthology reading list honors Sue Paterno and her decades of service

March 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — You could call her Penn State’s first lady of libraries and the liberal arts, a humanitarian for the humanities, a servant-leader of scholarship and service. Friends, family and Penn State volunteer colleagues of Sue Paterno were so inspired by her lifetime of service, particularly to Penn State University Libraries and the College of the Liberal Arts, for her 80th birthday they developed a reading list they named the "Paterno Anthology."

“Creating the Paterno Anthology is but a small token of heartfelt appreciation that we can offer to Sue as the University Libraries’ ardent supporter,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “We know how much she values literature and the Libraries and felt the best way we could demonstrate to her the enduring impact she has made on the lives of Penn State students was by dedicating a custom list of titles in her name, selected by those who have observed her dedication to and passion for helping students achieve their academic goals.”

In all, 95 titles of fiction, nonfiction and poetry were submitted from families, couples and individuals to honor Sue Paterno’s 62 years of Penn State volunteerism. 

From the day she started college, Paterno has been in love with her University and her town. It’s not hard to understand why: she met the love of her life, Joe, in Pattee Library, settled down here, then watched that institution educate her children and grandchildren.

As a volunteer, she has served a multitude of fundraising campaigns, raising money for scholarships, facilities and programs. She is a founding member of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board and University Libraries’ Library Development Board, a past Alumni Council member, a tutor and a member of the Liberal Arts Development Council. In the 1980s she helped establish a summer program for underrepresented students at Penn State, and she ensured the future academic success of generations of Penn State student-athletes by helping to create their academic support center. She has given generously of her time and treasure to Penn State’s student-run philanthropy, THON.

She regularly attends events of the Paterno Fellows Program. Its goals reflect the lives of its founders: “Paterno Fellows are challenged to reach the highest levels of academic achievement and distinguish themselves in areas traditionally associated with the liberal arts: ethics, service, and leadership; excellence in communication; and intercultural awareness.” The program has thrived, having graduated more than 500 students armed with a traditional liberal arts foundation.

"Sue is a Penn State treasure,” said Clarence Lang, Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “She has given so much of her time, talent and treasure to the alma mater and the larger community. The impact that she has had on our students is a profound one, and it was a privilege to celebrate her birthday and honor her."

Her most passionate project at Penn State has been the ever-evolving library. Sue and Joe Paterno first took on the University Libraries as a cause almost 40 years ago. Both English literature graduates, they viewed the library as a way to impact the full range of the University’s threefold, land-grant mission of teaching, research, and public outreach. She has raised money for the University Libraries, created its advisory board — which she continues to serve as its longstanding vice chair— lobbied for building expansions and continues to advocate for its centrality to the University’s mission. 

As Paterno has made the University Libraries her personal legacy, a custom collection of titles in the Libraries’ catalog seemed the most fitting way for friends to honor her. Many books in the Paterno Anthology have a connection to Penn State or Pennsylvania; several are biographies or autobiographies of notable figures in history, from Jane Goodall and Nelson Mandela to Fred Rogers, who shared her hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Others are classic works of literature, some that reminded the nominators of Sue, others that were meaningful to the nominators themselves. Genres also include children’s poetry, an epic poem, a Pittsburgh-area cookbook and dozens of novels. 

You can read the full list of titles in the Paterno Anthology and download a printable copy at

Penn State students, faculty and staff are not the only readers able to check out these titles from the Libraries’ catalog. Residents of Pennsylvania and members of the Penn State Alumni Association have borrowing privileges at all University Libraries locations across the commonwealth. For more information, visit

Last Updated March 06, 2020