D-Jay Newbill: An Open Thank You Letter to PSU President, AD and Head Coach

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!

DJ Newbill Screaming

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.


Devonte “D-Jay” Newbill ’15
Penn State University

DJ Newbill Cap and Gown-page-0

22 responses

  1. You are a class act, Mr. Newbill. We were and are lucky to have YOU! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments. From one Philly kid and Nittany Lion to another… WE ARE!

  2. Dear Mr. Newbill, That was just an outstanding letter to the President, Athletic Director, and Basketball Coach at The Pennsylvania State University. I did not attend Penn State. However, reading your letter makes me wish I had. Your articulate points made in the letter resonated so well. I congratulate you on your gratitude to Penn State. It really must be special to be an Alumni of that school. Good luck in France. Your letter should be shown to any prospective college student, as it shows Penn State being an excellent school and choice. Congratulations to you. I am sorry for the passing of your Mentor and Mother. Sincerely, Pete Bahr

  3. Pingback: D.J. Newbill Pens Open Letter Thanking Eric Barron, Sandy Barbour, And Pat Chambers - Onward State

  4. Yes!!! Love it!! Best memories ever at Penn State. So proud to be a Nittany Lion and a part of Thon and all the great traditions at PSU too. Best of luck in France!!

  5. Pingback: D-Jay Newbill: An Open Thank You Letter to PSU President, AD and Head Coach – PennStateHoops.com

  6. DJay, I’ve been a fan of yours since you stepped on the court in the BJC here at Penn State. None of my own family lives here, and, in my mind, each of the Penn State Basketball players is a part of my family, and I was there cheering for you at every game. Your smile makes me smile. Your successes on and off the court makes me smile. And when you lost your Mother, my heart ached for you. Now, you’ve graduated from a major university and there’s never been a doubt in my mind that you have always been, and will continue to be, a tremendous ambassador of Penn State.

    Congratulations of reaching your goal of graduating. Congratulations on having a wonderful summer “showing your stuff” on the court. And congratulations on achieving your goal of playing professional basketball. You have worked so hard every single day to attain the tremendous skills you have, and now you’re ready to continue to spread your wings. The sky’s the limit for you… you can attain whatever you set out to do in life. I, for one, couldn’t be more proud of you.

    As a Penn State alum who lives in State College, I welcome your help in recruiting student athletes. It will be easy for you to “sell” the Basketball program, along with all the other teams we have. But I hope you also let them know how much we who live here want you to be part of our community and we will be here to support you. I also know I can rely on you, as you meet people during your journey in Europe, to let them know what a great university Penn State is.

    I know you have a kind heart, as you’ve won my granddaughter’s. She was 5 the first time she saw you play… and you had a heck of a good game that night. She “followed” no. 2 on the court and jumped in joy every time your scored. She now treasures the bobble-head you signed for her (you did that for me at the Awards Banquet in April).

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    the rains fall soft upon your fields
    and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    I’ll be following you and ASVEL basket in the coming months and keeping you in my daily prayers.

    We Are Family!


  7. Wow..what a wonderful letter…best of the best to you in the future..and know you will always be loved and encapsulated in the Penn State family!

    I myself did not graduate from Penn State..I am however a lifetime alumni because my husband is an alumni, our oldest daughter is also.. and our youngest daughter just graduated from Penn State Law in University Park.

    This University stands alone in how incredibly supportive the professors, students, employees, everyone encourages each other and brings all of us to a higher level of success.

    You are walking into a world of challenges and hard challenges. But never lose your optimism …and hopefully we are a part of that strength.

    It always so sad when graduates leave…but always remember you are our dream for a better future…and you always will make us smile!

  8. Me personally am not a PSU fan. Born bred Spartan. This letter however, speaks highly both of your university, this program and Mr Newbill. You should all be very proud.

  9. DJ – best of luck with your future endeavors. You represented our fine university with class and dignity. I loved watching you play, and am proud to be a fellow alum. Keep driving to the hoop!

  10. Pingback: Former Penn State basketball player arrested on suspicion of terrorism | Jeffery Lipton - freelance writer

  11. Best of luck in your professional career DJ. You keep this same positive and humble attitude whenever life gets tough and believe me, you will find success and happiness like I’m sure you’ve imagined. Again, best of luck.

  12. I’m French and a Penn State alum. I hope Villeurbanne and France welcome you the way you deserve. ASVEL fans are lucky to have a player like you to cheer for. Although my hometown (SLUC Nancy) is competing against ASVEL in the French Pro A I will be 100% behind you. Because of what you mean for Penn State Basketball and our beloved university. WE ARE FAMILY!

  13. As a parent of an incoming student-athlete, I can truly say the content of this letter caused some emotional tears to drop as I look to transporting and leaving our child at University Park. Nevertheless, some anxiety about the transition definitely left as I was reminded (through this letter along with other comments) of the sense of community and support available. Thanks, Mr. Newbill for sharing.

  14. Pingback: Former Penn State star interrogated in Germany | OFF THE BLOCK NEWS

  15. With everything going on in the world, this young man has shown the upmost class and humility by thanking his PSU President, AD, and Head Coach. He was given the absolute greatest thing a young man can get from his mother, Self Respect and pure love in his heart. His letter is one to be shared and read by ALL young men and women is college right now. Attending college is not a right; it is a privilege. Please don’t waste the opportunities that have been given to you. DJ, your mother and mentor are smiling big time in heaven. Well done and good luck with your pro career in France. Stay safe and come home soon.

  16. Pingback: Great Letter By DJ Newbill (ex PSU) | Spartan Breakdown

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