Ben Novak is the author of “Hitler and Abductive Logic: The Strategy of a Tyrant,” as well as “Is Penn State a Real University?: An Investigation of the University as a Living Ideal” and “The Birth of the Craft Brew Revolution.”
Novak served on the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University from 1988 to 2000. Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Feb. 15, 1943, Novak graduated from Penn State in 1965, having served as president of the Undergraduate Student Government in his senior year and as a brother at Tau Kappa Epsilon.
In 1968 he graduated from Georgetown University Law School. From 1968 to 1970 he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, Infantry, including a year in Viet Nam where he won the Bronze Star.
While living in Centre County for more than three decades, Novak was widely involved in the community. He was, at various times: founder of the Mount Nittany Conservancy; president of Lion’s Paw Alumni Association; a Ph.D. recipient in philosophy, history, and political science from Penn State; and an adjunct professor and assistant dean of students at Penn State.
In 2000 he retired, moving to Bratislava in Slovakia, his family’s ancestral nation. In 2008 he returned to the United States to advise students at Penn State, and has earnestly sought a renewal in University life according to the vision of Evan Pugh and the Founders of Penn State for many years.
In 2014, the Mount Nittany Conservancy recognized Novak’s contributions with its “Friend of the Mountain” award. In 2015 The Nittany Valley Society created the Novak Fellowship in honor of his contributions to Penn State and the wider community. Each year, a Penn Stater is awarded the Novak Fellowship to surface and share little-known aspects of the community’s shared history with new generations.