August 15, 2015
Eric J. Barron, President
Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics
Pat Chambers, Men’s Basketball Head Coach
Penn State University
Dr. Barron, Ms. Barbour and Coach Chambers:
I want to publicly thank you for giving me an opportunity to develop and grow as a man, student and athlete at Penn State University. As I embark upon my professional life, I realize more than ever that attending Penn State University was the best decision I have ever made. Penn State embraced me, a poor kid from the tough streets North Philadelphia, and made feel challenged, supported and loved during my four years on campus. They went by far to0 quickly.
There were many who questioned my decision. Many people felt that I would NOT achieve my academic and athletic goals if went to Penn State. Today, I stand here as a proud graduate of Penn State University and emphatically say they couldn’t have been more wrong. I endured the lowest of lows and the highest of highs while enrolled at Penn State. I lost my mentor, John Hardnett, right before I came to Penn State. John believed in me before anyone else. John repeatedly told me I would be a college graduate. He told me this day would come. When he passed away there was a void in my life.
Coach Chambers stepped in and stepped up. While he demanded a lot from me and constantly pushed me to become a better student and basketball player, there was never a moment I didn’t feel respected and loved. Penn State was where I was meant to be. Penn State was my home. I was destined to be a Nittany Lion!
Nittany Lion ROARING!!
On September 15, 2012, two years after John passed away, I lost my mother. I experienced a level of pain and despair I didn’t think was possible. Coach Chambers, my teammates and the entire Penn State community put their collective arms around me and literally carried me through the toughest period of my life. For that, I will be forever grateful.
As I prepare to play professional basketball in France, I do so knowing that I have a home and an extended family in State College, Pennsylvania. I will spend the rest of my life serving as an ambassador for Penn State University. I want see hundreds, even thousands, of other young poor Black Philadelphia boys and girls experience life as a Nittany Lion. While I am leaving campus as a student, my heart and soul will always be present and accounted for in Happy Valley!!
I look forward to becoming an active member of alumni associations. I look forward to talking to middle and high school students about MY university. While I have to go work in France, I will return to campus as soon as the wheels of the plane touch down on American soil.
Thank you for believing in me. I hope I have been able to make you proud of me.
WE ARE PENN STATE!
Devonte “D-Jay” Newbill ’15
Penn State University