Joe Paterno's wife was surrounded by her children and grandchildren Saturday at the dedication of a $6.5 million campus Catholic center that was named for her and said her late husband would have called it a “national championship for Penn State.”
Sue Paterno and her husband, one of college football's most successful coaches over decades at Penn State, helped to raise money for the center, which features the Holy Family Chapel, meeting rooms and a cafeteria. Sue Paterno said there is still work to be done and pledged to fight to make sure that the center is completed for students.
She said establishing the center was a partnership with her husband.
“We did everything that way,” she said. “I didn't coach, but he didn't cook.”
She said Joe Paterno, who died in January, “is right behind me. I know he's watching us.”
Joe Paterno coached the Nittany Lions until his firing in November, days after retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges, and was diagnosed with lung cancer days later. Sandusky was convicted this year and awaits sentencing.
A university-sanctioned investigation criticized Paterno's handling of what he knew about Sandusky, but the family accuses the university and NCAA of a rush to judgment in accepting the report and has vowed its own investigation.
Sue Paterno attended Penn State's first game of the season last week, saying she just wanted “us to win.” Penn State, depleted by NCAA sanctions after the scandal, lost to Ohio.
Penn State's Catholic Campus Ministry serves about a quarter of the student population as well as administration, faculty and staff, according to the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. The Rev. Joseph Adamec, bishop emeritus, blessed the center and celebrated its first Mass Saturday.