Penn State

Scott Showalter - Associate Professor of Chemistry, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Grapes of Wrath

Author: John Steinbeck

Book Description:

My first six years at Penn State have given me the gift of working with many outstanding students, faculty, and staff from diverse social and economic backgrounds. Public universities like Penn State are the foundation of our future, because they provide the educational resources youth need to be competitive in adulthood and because they are so successful at bringing together people from diverse backgrounds. Unfortunately, it is also true that these past few years have been marked by the most difficult economic period our nation has faced since the Great Depression. Perhaps for this reason, my time at Penn State has also seen a decrease in federal funding for scientific research and a seeming reduction in public regard for higher education in general. In the face of difficulty, it feels like many of our local and national communities have drifted apart, rather than coming together. Fortunately, we at Penn State are blessed to be part of an extraordinarily strong civic community. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck reminds us of the need to display compassion for all people, regardless of their social or economic situation. I believe that Steinbeck provides us with a path towards prosperity and affirmation for all people. His message is as resonant today as it was at the time of this important novel's writing.

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