Story of Fund
Born in Johnstown in 1943, Ben Novak graduated from Penn State in 1965 after serving as student body president and as a brother at Tau Kappa Epsilon. After graduating from Georgetown University Law School in 1968, Novak served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, Infantry in Viet Nam where he won the Bronze Star. Returning to the Nittany Valley in 1970, Novak established his own law firm in State College and Bellefonte and practiced law in Pennsylvania for more than three decades. A visionary and indefatigable force, he has been, variously: author of three books, four-term Penn State trustee, founder of the Mount Nittany Conservancy; president of Lion's Paw Alumni Association; a PhD recipient in philosophy, history, and political science; and an adjunct professor and assistant dean of students.
The Nittany Valley Society, a nonprofit cultural conservancy, honors Ben Novak's legacy through The Novak Fellowship, an annual opportunity for student-fellows to enter into the Nittany Valley's storied and legendary past through research and learning while forging friendships throughout the community for the future.
How Does it Help?
The past cannot be destroyed, but it can be neglected or covered over. When we don't know what is in the past, we cannot use it, and we cannot release its power
- Ben Novak
The Novak Fellowship Fund furthers The Nittany Valley Society's mission to "foster a spirit of community across time."
Fellows research the Nittany Valley's past with the aim of surfacing and sharing little-known aspects of the community's shared history and the character of its people with new generations of students, townspeople, alumni, professors, and friends. Fellows are honored at The Willow Gathering each December in State College.