The Willard Preacher Up Close
Outside of the Willard Building at Penn State University, where classes are held from dusk to dawn, stands a man – Gary Cattell. He isn’t a student, nor does the university employ him, and yet everyday Mr. Cattell walks back and forth in front of this building on Penn State’s campus. His cause? To preach the message of Orthodox Christianity.
Gary Cattell is The Willard Preacher.
Cattell has been preaching in front of Willard for over 30 years. Everyday, rain or shine, he stands preaching (usually clad in a red sweatshirt.) His passion for Christ and sharing his message to students comes from a place of understanding rather than disdain.
Cattell says that he too lived a life far off the path of Christianity. He employed all of the “drunkenness and fornicating” that he believes most of the students at Penn State do. His purpose is to veer them from that course.
Though over the years, ‘The Willard Preacher’s’ reputation has overcome him and become much larger than he is. Many think of him as a mean old man and many label him as “crazy”, said senior Jacqueline Leighton upon passing him on the sidewalk. And yet, behind his loud voice and his rather abstract message, there lies a man; one who cares for his family, cares for God, and underneath it all, cares for other’s spiritual wellbeing.