I Love This Place

Julie Bernier Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Julie Bernier, Pemi mascot and student fan

In fall 2009 at a PSU football game a fan, a young man of about 14, fell and hurt his leg.  I went to get him some ice and then sat with him a while. It was nothing too serious, but it was clear that it hurt him and perhaps his pride.  His older brother, a PSU first-year student, was a big tough kid—red flannel shirt and baseball cap.

I was touched by how kind and attentive he was to his little brother (also a big tough kid, probably towering over his brother today).  Big brother kept putting his arm around little brother, trying to make him laugh so as to take his mind off what had happened.  He was a pretty special young man, and I’ve thought of him many times since that day.


In December 2009 I attended a Christmas concert by Vocal Order and Mixed Emotions, PSU’s male and female A Cappella groups.  I always enjoy Vocal Order, and that evening they did not disappoint.  One selection, “Breathe In and Breathe Out,” was spectacular.  But in this concert the women were particularly good, perhaps the best I’d ever heard them.  There were 13 singers, each one very talented.  It was evident that they had spent a great deal of time in rehearsals.  In addition to several contemporary songs, they sang three Christmas carols in which the harmony was truly breathtaking.

The final number of the evening was a South African piece directed by Mervin Marvey, one of our international students.  The two groups combined, and both Vocal Order and Mixed Emotions sang in the aisles around us.  Mervin played an African drum.

It was AMAZING!  Members of the audience were on their feet dancing and clapping in rhythm.  At the end of the piece, and concert, I turned around and saw the red flannel shirt and baseball cap.   His eyes were filled with tears (as were mine).  He looked at me and said “Wow!”  I nodded, “Yeah, wow.”   I wanted to give him a big hug.


As I turned back to put on my coat, I heard him say to his buddy, “I love this place.”  I smiled.

I left that evening so proud of our students and proud to be a part of PSU.  As I walked home, I thought, we are among the most fortunate people on this earth to be able to do what it is that we do.

Wow!  I love this place, too.