Penn State Prepares for Services Honoring Paterno

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By Nikki Krize

5:36 p.m. EST, January 23, 2012

Thousands of people made their way to State College over the weekend to pay respects to former football coach Joe Paterno.

Thousands more are expected over the next few days.

As Penn State continues to mourn, the university announced plans for public viewings and a memorial service honoring the legendary coach.

“There will be an open-to-the-public time for people to pass through the worship hall at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and they can pay their respects at that time,” said Bob Smith, Director at the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs.

He spent most of the day in meetings preparing for the public services to be held at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

There will be public viewings at the center Tuesday from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon.

After that, a private service will be held at 2 p.m. for the Paterno family. Smith said he is expecting thousands of people at the public viewings. He said the Paterno family has done a lot for the Pasquerella Spiritual Center.

“If it weren’t for the Paternos pushing the idea, I don’t know if it would be here. When it was first erected, it was without an organ and the Paternos were instrumental to adding an organ two years after it opened,” he said.

Some students tell Newswatch 16 they are pleased the university is paying tribute to the former football coach.

“I think it’s the right call because Joe meant so much to this university. When people think of Penn State they think of Joe Paterno,” said Brian Walder, Penn State student.

“I like the idea of having it on campus because it makes the student’s access to it easier,” said Ricky Conte, Penn State student.

Thursday will be a public memorial service at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State officials expect thousands of people to come pay respects to Joe Paterno.