Paterno, Penn State helped unify Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (AP) - For years, Penn State University game days meant fans making pilgrimages from all corners of Pennsylvania to a school right in the middle of the state, and by extension, to coach Joe Paterno.

In a state where professional sports loyalties are usually divided between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Penn State Nittany Lions are a team embraced by all Pennsylvanians.

So Paterno's death from cancer on Sunday created emotional ripples that have spread throughout the university's broad network of alumni, both within the state and far beyond.

Many alumni credit Paterno not just with winning national college football titles, but for helping to transform a rural agricultural college into a 21st century scientific and engineering powerhouse.

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