The man, the myth, the legend. At least that’s what we like to call him. Alan Kirk, or Al for short, is none other than my wonderful father.
The man who repeats the same joke but gets the same amount of laughs every time. The guy who’s always the life of the party, whether he’s making a stranger smile or laughing along with his friends at tailgates. He’s a loyal man, whether he’s hanging out with friends that he’s had since elementary school or watching the same losing NFL team for years. I turn to him in time of need whether I need to know how to get the oil changed in my car or if I’m struggling with classes. I honestly would have probably dropped out by now if it wasn’t for his calming advice and reassurance. He was born and raised in Erie, PA and attended Behrend for his undergraduate degree. I asked him about his time here at Behrend, how Behrend has changed since then, and what he’s planning to do for the 70th anniversary and here’s what he had to say:
“I graduated from Behrend in 1976 with a B.A. in American Studies. This was a major which examined the American experience through courses in history, literature and political science.
The history, tradition and spirit of Penn State appealed to me as a high school student. I knew that Behrend offered me a Penn State educational opportunity and was close to my home at the time. Like a lot of students starting their college education at Behrend I thought that I would probably go to the Main Campus or the Centre County campus as it was often referred to then. Class sizes were small, advisors were always available and there were many different courses to choose from. I had several instructors that even today I recall as having made an effort to assist me. I got a lot of encouragement to take varied courses. I began to consider becoming a lawyer. I was able to secure an internship with a local legal services office and receive college credit while doing so. Eventually, I decided to stay at Behrend longer and ultimately graduated. The experience and training I received at Behrend were instrumental in preparing me for law school. I have been practicing law since 1982.
Most people will probably say that they really enjoyed the people they met while at Behrend. That is certainly true. In fact, at Penn State home football games I tailgate with a guy that I met while here. I am in regular contact with a number of people that I attended classes with while at Behrend. I was involved with student government and student union board while at Behrend. Both of these organizations planned activities for students and there was always something going on and something to do. Some of the best times of my life were while at Behrend.
Coming back to Behrend is very special to me because of the many memories I have. The campus has grown and is very impressive. This was especially true after I had been away for many years and happened to make a quick visit a few years ago. When my daughter began looking at colleges, Behrend was not at the top of the list. She grew up in State College, Pennsylvania and had a box full of brochures and offers from all over the country. After a visit or two at other colleges, I think she took a longer look at Behrend and started to consider the possibility of a Penn State education at Behrend. I am very proud of her for making the decision to attend Behrend.
I am a Life Member of the Penn State Alumni Association, the Atherton Society, the Nittany Lion Club and the Mount Nittany Society. I was a student at Behrend during its 25th anniversary and plan to attend activities at Behrend to honor its 70th anniversary.”
Yes that’s my dad in Jesus sandals and long hair.
Doing what he usually does
My dad in the Reed Union Building
My dad performing with his rock band in high school
My dad tailgating at Beaver Stadium