By many measures, Penn State says it is doing just fine from a business standpoint in the wake of the scandal. In an address to the faculty senate this week, new president Rodney Erickson cited, among other things, a 3 percent increase over 2010 in undergraduate-admissions applications and a 10 percent increase in the sum of contributions to the school’s annual fund as proof of the university’s overall health.
Meanwhile, in an interview Wednesday at his office on the campus’s eastern edge, Garis also said his initial fears about a backlash from corporate recruiters have proved to be unfounded, citing a 15 percent increase from 2010 in the number of companies attending Penn State’s Spring Career Day — an increase Garis attributes largely to the improving economy.
Penn State football players past and present made a somber pilgrimage to the campus spiritual center Tuesday for Joe Paterno, attending a viewing for the coach who helped shape the university for more than a half century. (Jan. 24)
“This tells me employers are every bit as interested, or more, in recruiting Penn State students as before,” he said.
Julie Rank, who recruits on college campuses for Brooksource, an Indianapolis-based IT staffing firm, said she still recruits Penn State students as aggressively as before, and said the scandal is “not a topic that needs to be discussed in a professional setting.”
“That puts the students in a very awkward situation,” she said. “No interviewees from other schools are having to answer those same questions.”
But while Garis said he has received little indication that the Sandusky scandal has been a hot topic during students’ job interviews, the students themselves tell a different story.
Michael Higgins, 21, a senior industrial engineering major from Norristown, Pa., said of his four job interviews so far, three have included scandal questions. In one case, an interviewer noted an item on Higgins’s resume — he is vice president of “Paternoville,” an organization that represents the body of students that camps out for tickets during home football weeks — and joked, “I can’t believe you still have that on your résumé.”
“I actually feel that [questions about the scandal are] a good starting point in an interview,” Higgins said. “It breaks the ice, and it kind of lets them know what kind of person I am.”