The Final Moments of Joe Paterno’s Halo

Years ago artist Michael Pilato painted a mural titled Inspiration on the side of a building that lines Heister Stree. The mural depicts famous Penn Staters. Last November the image of Jerry Sandusky was removed from that mural. One day after Coach Paterno died this past January a halo was painted above his head. I took a photo of the section of the mural that features Coach Paterno yesterday while I was seeing the Arts Fest.

The mural yesterday afternoon.

This morning Michael Pilato removed the halo from above Paterno’s head, so the image above captures the final hours of its existence.

This week the Freeh Report was released. As a Penn State alumnus I find the report sickening and disheartening. But I am not surprised. I believe dishonesty and cowardice occurred at the highest levels of Penn State, which enabled terrible crimes to occur. When and where this was criminal is left for courts to decide. It is too early for me to say how this will ultimately effect my memory of Coach Paterno, but right now the mention of his name makes me sad.

One thing that the situation at Penn State brings into sharp relief is that life consists of many facets. Character is measured in many areas. The question to answer is what is the sum of excellence in some areas and depravity in others? When someone fails in an area–what are the ramifications? This will be telling in how Paterno is remembered.


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