"When I think back on Joe Paterno's legacy, the events of the last two months won't even cross my mind," Stefan Wisniewski, an Oakland Raiders offensive lineman and former Penn State player, told a crowd on the steps of Old Main.
"Penn State has lost a great benefactor and a great man," said Charles Dumas, a theater professor who, with dozens of others, arrived for a Sunday-morning Mass at the Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, where the coach and his wife often attended services.
Dumas had gone there to pray for Paterno's health. He left in tears hours later as news of the coach's death was delivered during the service.
Within hours, other signs of mourning emerged.
Paterno's death quickly transformed campus life Sunday.
At a home wrestling match between Penn State and Iowa, fans marked a moment of silence followed by a 30-second standing ovation.
Businesses ranging from furniture stores to fast-food restaurants dedicated their marquees.
"Thanks, Joe. For everything you've done," read a sign greeting midday drinkers at Champ's Sports Bar a mile north of the campus.
Along College Avenue, State College's main drag, cash registers recorded sales of JoePa merchandise at a steady clip. The Lion's Pride, a shop selling Penn State T-shirts, mugs, and other memorabilia, said it had started a back-order list for items bearing the coach's image.
Street vendors peddled black T-shirts with Paterno's profile and a single word: "Remember."
Throughout the day, a steady stream of students, alumni, and Penn State fans held quiet vigil before the statue erected in Paterno's honor outside Beaver Stadium.
There, a collection of flowers, T-shirts, and flickering candles grew by the hour.
Ian Kenney, drum major of the Penn State Blue Band, brought the gloves and whistle he used during Paterno's last game as coach. David Marselles, a senior from Allentown, showed up with a life-size cardboard cutout of the coach in tow.
"He's been my role model since I was 5 years old," he said.
Keith and Teresa Becker, both 47, had never met Paterno or even attended the university. Still, they felt compelled to make the 21/2-hour drive on snowy roads from their home outside Harrisburg.
Decked out in Penn State blue and white - their "game day uniforms" - the couple added a bouquet of flowers to the pile.
"Some people are saying he died of a broken heart," Keith Becker said. "This place was his life."
But it was Paterno, even in death, who set the tone for his mourning in a quote embossed on the stadium wall behind his likeness.
"They ask me what I'd like written about me when I'm gone," it read. "I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach."
Contact staff writer Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, email@example.com, or @jeremyrroebuck on Twitter.
Inquirer staff writer Joe McIntyre contributed to this article.