While he announced that a statue to Coach Paterno would be removed from Beaver Stadium in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, Penn State President Rodney Erickson stated that he “feels strongly” that the school’s library should remain named after Paterno.
“The Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University. The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts Coach Paterno had on the University,” Erickson said in a statement.
Paterno had called for a great library for Penn State as early as 1983, and ten years later, he and his wife began a campaign which raised $13.75 million for the construction of a new library, including $250,000 which the Paternos donated personally. In total the Paternos have donated $4 million to the Penn State libraries, according to The McClatchy newspapers, including another $50,000 to the library in 2011, after he was fired.
Paterno testified before a grand jury that he’d been given a first-hand account by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary of seeing Sandusky molesting a child, and he reported the situation to the athletic director but took no further action. Paterno was fired in 2011, after the case broke, and he had already announced his intention to retire. He died in January.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh, whose was hired by the Board of Trustees to investigate the situation, concluded that Paterno and others had deliberately conspired to conceal Sandusky’s actions. Emails Freeh cited showed that Paterno had lied to the grand jury about being unaware of any possible child abuse by Sandusky prior to 2001, and in claiming that he had only once spoken to Tim Curley about the 2001 incident.
Paterno’s name has been removed from Nike’s Joe Paterno Child Development Center, Brown University’s award for the year’s outstanding male freshman athlete and head football coach position, and the Big Ten’s football championship trophy.
Penn State Dean of Libraries Barbara Dewey did not immediately respond to LJ’s request for comment.