Turbulent year nears end for Penn State seniors

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- An academic year that no Penn State senior was prepared for comes to a close this week when the university holds graduation ceremonies.

Nearly 13,000 diplomas will be awarded this weekend across the Penn State system. In State College, more than 8,500 undergraduates are receiving bachelor's degrees at the main University Park campus.

The same sprawling campus turned into the epicenter of the scandal that erupted in November in the aftermath of child sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky. The retired assistant football coach has maintained his innocence while awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin next month.

Students protested the night the late Joe Paterno was ousted as head coach. Days later, thousands showed up for a candlelight vigil to show support for victims of child abuse.