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Renaissance Fund Dinner to Honor Spaniers Now Undecided

on December 15, 2011 4:33 PM

Once postponed, the planned Penn State Renaissance Fund dinner to honor Graham and Sandra Spanier is now up in the air, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said Thursday.

"No decision has yet been made on the dinner, if or when it may occur," Powers wrote in an e-mail message.

The Renaissance Fund committee "needs to meet to discuss any forward motion," she wrote.

Held annually, the Renaissance Fund dinner recognizes a different honoree -- or pair of honorees -- each year. The dinner proceeds -- thousands of dollars a year -- support the university's Renaissance Fund student scholarships, including scholarship funds named for the dinner honorees.

The honorees are chosen by the fund's committee, which this year selected the Spaniers. The dinner in their honor had been scheduled for Nov. 9 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

But criminal charges against former PSU football assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky and two administrators -- Gary Schultz and Tim Curley -- emerged Nov. 5. In light of the news, the Spaniers requested that the dinner "appropriately be postponed and rescheduled for spring 2012," according to a letter sent to would-be attendees.

News of the dinner postponement broke Nov. 7. At the time, Powers wrote to "President Spanier and his wife asked that it be postponed until spring because their attention is so heavily focused right now on the troubling charges by the attorney general."

By Nov. 9, though, Graham Spanier had departed his role as university president. He remains a tenured faculty member at the university.

While the Spanier-honoring dinner plans are now in limbo, Powers noted, the scholarship fund established in their names will remain in effect. It was funded by donations made in advance of the planned dinner date, she wrote. 

Sandra Spanier, also a university faculty member, is a renowned Hemingway scholar.

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