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Russell Frank

A collection of Russell Frank's columns from the past 20 years, titled “Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," was published this fall by the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won first place in the Commentary-Non Daily category of the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Chapter 2017 Spotlight contest. Frank is a member of the journalism faculty at Penn State. Before launching his academic career, he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for 13 years. He is, by academic training, a folklorist (Ph.D., UPenn), which means, when you strip away the academic jargon, that he loves a good story. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.

Articles by Russell Frank

The Pack is Full. Will He Hoist It? Stay Tuned.
Column
The Pack is Full. Will He Hoist It? Stay Tuned.
5 days ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I bought a new backpack this spring without it ever occurring to me that I might soon be too old for backpacking, if I’m not too old already. [Read More]
Never TMI
Column
Never TMI
3 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
It could be an Italian thing. Or a Mediterranean thing. Or maybe it’s just that the Italian-speaking State College friend we were visiting is so simpatico that troubled souls pour their hearts out to her. [Read More]
Try to Remember – But Keep a Travel Diary in Case You Forget
Column
Try to Remember – But Keep a Travel Diary in Case You Forget
5 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
On the eve of my departure for Italy and Greece, a tattered notebook crammed with my familiar scrawl reminds me that I was wandering around the same two countries at this season 40 years ago. [Read More]
Not Too Late to Seek a Newer World
Column
Not Too Late to Seek a Newer World
7 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
If you ask adrenalin junkies if the rush is worth the risk, I suppose they’d say life without these sorts of experiences would not be worth living and that there could be no better death than dying while doing what you love. I think I get that. Old as I am, it’s not fear of dying that stops me f [Read More]
A Tale of Two Houses
Column
A Tale of Two Houses
9 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
One day, I walked around the block to inspect the site of a new house under construction and was surprised to see one man, who turned out to be the owner, doing all the work himself. No, he wasn’t a contractor or in the building trades and no, he had never built a house before. [Read More]
20 Years at Penn State and Coming Back for More
Column
20 Years at Penn State and Coming Back for More
11 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I was coming to the end of my 20th year on the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University and I had just about had it. [Read More]
Bring on the Tiny Human!
Column
Bring on the Tiny Human!
13 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My granddaughter is a spaghetti squash. Last week she was a carrot. Next week she’ll be a large mango. Why, I remember when she was no bigger than a lentil. Thus do we track a fetus’ growth in the 21st century. [Read More]
In Memory of My Father, on Passover
Column
In Memory of My Father, on Passover
15 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I rarely plan these little essays much in advance but I decided a while ago that I would write about my dad on April 16 to commemorate his 100th birthday. Now I don’t want to wait that long because it’s Passover, a time of year when I think about the old man even more than I usually do. [Read More]
Mixed Messages at Bellefonte High
Column
Mixed Messages at Bellefonte High
17 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I’m afraid the “valuable lesson” the kids who walked out of Bellefonte Area High School learned is that the adult response to school shootings is just as muddled now as it was before Parkland, before Newtown, before Columbine. [Read More]
One Good Thing About Getting Old: Knowing a Thing. Or Two.
Column
One Good Thing About Getting Old: Knowing a Thing. Or Two.
19 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
In any event (as my dad would say), The New York Times seems to know I’m getting long in the tooth (as my dad would say), so I may as well tackle the question raised by that last item on The Times’s list: Is it true that getting old is a blessing? [Read More]
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