Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe Pa Says Not to Forget...

...That I review DVDs at Home Media Magazine, a fine trade publication. I don't know why I haven't posted a review from there in such a long time, but here's one that appeared in September. I've seen some good stuff for them recently, including Raise the Song.

The review is notable because Penn State happens to be where my girlfriend went to graduate school. It should be noted that she also played tight end for the Nittany Lions from 2003-05. She does it all: play classical piano with ease and catch passes in the middle.

As always, the review previously appeared in HMM. Again, my thanks to John Latchem, who's an ace editor.

Produced by Penn State University's television station, Raise the Song: The History of Penn State offers a quick but thorough history of the university.

When Penn State was chartered as an agricultural school in 1855, higher education was usually pursued by rich Christian men. However, with America becoming more agricultural and industrial, there was a need for a more educated workforce.

Thanks to the work of several individuals (Penn State'ss first president, Evan Pugh; Vermont congressman Justin Smith Morrill), the college found its footing as a "people's college," eventually becoming a top-flight engineering school and offering correspondence courses to farmers. Through the years, Penn State also developed a liberal arts program, officially became a university, and adapted to social and educational changes.

Oh, and it developed a really good football team.

Raise the Song's most interesting aspect is in profiling Penn State's early days, which in turn mirrors the social and economic history of a young America. That should appeal to casual history buffs, as will the neat trivia revealed through the numerous interviews with alumni, professors, and university officials. As Penn State grows older, the film examines the school's relatively recent accomplishments such as its medical center and its library.

If viewers can forgive the film's recruitment-tool undertones, Raise the Song is an insightful look at an educational institution's humble beginnings and its rise to prominence.

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