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About the Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University (commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU) is a public, land-grant, research-intensive university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the university has a stated threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools, Penn State Law, on the school's University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, located in Carlisle, 90 miles south of State College. The College of Medicine is located in Hershey. Penn State has another 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special-mission campuses located across the state. Penn State has been labeled one of the "Public Ivies," a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world's largest dues-paying alumni association.The university's total enrollment in 2015–16 was approximately 97,500 across its 24 campuses and online through its World Campus.
The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses and administers $3.45 billion (as of June 30, 2014) in endowment and similar funds. The university's research expenditures totaled $813 million during the 2014 fiscal year.
Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world's largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. In 2014, THON raised a program record of $13.3 million. The university's athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions. They compete in the Big Ten Conference for most sports.
College of Agricultural Sciences
- We have 9 Academic Departments.
- Our academic programs:
- 17 undergraduate majors and 23 minors
- 3 two-year programs and 2 certificate programs
- Graduate programs in 18 major areas
- The College of Agricultural Sciences invests nearly $97 million in research and graduatestudy yearly.
- Penn State Extension, present in every county, delivers University expertise directly to your community and works to assess and address the social, educational, and physical needs of citizens throughout the state.
- The only land-grant institution in Pennsylvania, Penn State became one of the nation's very first when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law in 1862.
- About 80 percent of the college's undergraduates come from non-agricultural backgrounds.
College of Arts and Architecture
The College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State is a comprehensive arts community including academic programs in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, art history, architecture and landscape architecture along with the Palmer Museum of Art and Center for the Performing Arts. The College is committed to artistic and scholarly creativity, research, and the preparation of specialized practitioners in all of the arts and design disciplines, along with community engagement in its programs. Barbara O. Korner has served as dean since 2007.
The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the Department of Art History, the H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the Penn State School of Visual Arts. The college also includes the Center for the Performing Arts, the Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State Centre Stage, and Music at Penn’s Woods, which serve as important cultural resources that provide educational outreach programs for Penn State and area communities.
Smeal College of Business
The Penn State Smeal College of Business is a vibrant intellectual community offering highly ranked undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and executive education opportunities to more than 6,000 students from across the country and around the world. Since our introduction in 1953, we have prepared more than 75,000 students for professional success, annually adding to Penn State's vast alumni network. We are a destination of choice for top global organizations seeking talent that will make a positive difference. Through our leading faculty and network of research centers and institutes, we are a source of knowledge that influences the business practices of tomorrow. We are forging connections, creating opportunities, and producing results.
College of Communications
The College of Communications at Penn State provides the opportunities and resources of a large university with the personalized feel and support of a small school. As the largest accredited program of its kind in the nation, students can find a place where they can fit and succeed.
Our four departments — Advertising/Public Relations; Film-Video and Media Studies; Journalism; and Telecommunications — offer five undergraduate majors. Graduate students may pursue a master’s degree in media studies or a Ph.D. program in mass communications, with several distinct areas of emphasis.
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
The College is comprised of five highly ranked academic departments, Energy and Mineral Engineering, Geography, Geosciences, Materials Science and Engineering and Meteorology; three research institutes, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI), EMS Energy Institute, and the Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR); and an innovative online education institute, the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. It is home to approximately 250 faculty, 125 staff, 1,500 undergraduates and 550 graduate students. Established in 1896, the College has an outstanding reputation for high-quality teaching and student centeredness, as well as research and service to industry, government and communities.
The College is a world leader in generating the fundamental knowledge needed to develop novel solutions to challenges such as:
- achieving energy security,
- sustaining a viable planetary life support system,
- developing profoundly new materials to meet societal needs,
- creating knowledge of how changing human goals and values will influence the scientific questions of the future.
College of Education
The Penn State College of Education offers you unique experiences that can be found only here. As a student, you get a solid foundation from your courses. But that’s not all. You are surrounded by a support system of faculty members, advisers, and more who will help you succeed. You can be involved in multiple educational experiences on and off campus, from across the street to across the globe. You’ll discover new cultures and innovative ideas while at Penn State. Soon enough, those new ideas will be coming from you. It is going to be an invaluable chapter in a your life.
College of Engineering
Vibrant educational programs that exhibit breadth, depth, technical diversity, innovative research, and products that directly impact the quality of life of global citizens, and a responsive community of intellectuals that is focused on serving the technical profession and society.
Penn State Engineering exhibits all of the above.
Our faculty and staff are amongst the best in the nation, and the world. Their deep commitment to educating the world-class engineer is unwavering, and their contributions to addressing today's grand challenges are acclaimed.
With a firm grounding in fundamentals, Penn State Engineering embraces multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education and research, and integrates component solutions into a systems perspective. With 12 departments and schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines and computer science, and with over 30 research centers and laboratories, we are one of the nation's leading academies of learning, discovery, and application. Our work is intertwined with industry, both at our doorstep in Pennsylvania and further afield, thus affording our students unparalleled training and employment opportunities.
College of Health and Human Development
The College of Health and Human Development (HHD) is committed to improving the quality of your life.
Our faculty represent some of the most respected leaders in their disciplines. The college enjoys enrollment of some of the most intelligent, motivated, and passionate students. Our research and outreach efforts touch people everywhere.
Our work is relevant to people everywhere, which is why we lead the way in offering high-quality education to our students and in producing research that will positively affect the ways we live today and in the future.
College of Information Sciences and Technology
At IST, we're about creating intelligence. The digital age has made the world smaller, faster, more interactive and increasingly mobile. But no matter how fast and smart machines become, they still rely on the power of human creativity. It’s people that create new ways to look at and evaluate the infinite opportunities of the digital age. IST draws on a variety of knowledge disciplines to help individuals unlock the power of their own creativity and fuel the world’s most powerful problem solving machine—the human mind.
Dickinson School of Law
Founded in 1834, The Dickinson School of Law is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and the fifth oldest in the country. Over the years, our graduates have included the nation’s finest attorneys, judges, government and corporate leaders, and legal educators. Our 1997 merger with Penn State expanded our reputation, network, and joint degree programs—complementing Dickinson Law’s legacy as an innovative leader in experiential education.
Penn State Law
Penn State Law, located on Penn State’s largest campus, offers all of the resources of a world-class, public research institution together with challenging and innovative classroom study and ample opportunities for learning by doing.
From orientation day to commencement day, the Penn State Law faculty guides students as they learn the law, refine analytical, writing, and communication skills, and apply new knowledge in clinics, externships, and problem-based courses.
College of the Liberal Arts
The College of the Liberal Arts is a national leader in education and research, and a very exciting place to be!
Our degree programs combine commitments to digital fluency, preparation for a global world, and engagement with the traditional liberal arts values of communication, analytic thinking, ethical decision making, civic engagement, and appreciation for other cultures and other times. Our Paterno Undergraduate Fellows Program and our Career Enrichment Network enable students to do research, study and work abroad, and gain valuable internship experience. In addition, we offer more than forty-five major fields, and more than a dozen baccalaureate and master's degrees online through Penn State's World Campus.
Our faculty are not only engaged teachers, they are outstanding researchers who have brought our departments and graduate programs to national leadership positions. We are proud that so many of our departments ranked among the top ten of their peers in the last National Research Council rankings. Our graduate students study and work with the nation's top scholars in many fields, gain teaching experience, and are well prepared for the job market when they graduate. Our goal is nothing less than to make the College the premier institution for study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.
College of Medicine
Penn State College of Medicine is committed to enhancing the quality of life through improved health, the professional preparation of those who will serve the health needs of others, and the discovery of knowledge that will benefit all. We’re dedicated to demonstrating our core values: respect, integrity, teamwork and excellence.
Penn State College of Medicine is part of an academic medical center group that also includes:
- Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the flagship hospital, a 551-bed, tertiary-care facility that serves central Pennsylvania;
- Penn State Children's Hospital, the only Level I pediatric trauma center between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; and
- Penn State Medical Group, the academic physician practice and associated outpatient practice sites of our group.
Eberly College of Science
The Eberly College of Science is the home of the basic biological, physical, and mathematical sciences at Penn State. We are proud to be a vibrant scientific community that has emerged as a premier center of education and research. We are proud of our students, our alumni, our staff, and our faculty. We are the Penn State Eberly College of Science and we are making a difference in the world.
Schreyer Honors College
A legacy of vision and values. A tradition of academic excellence. A future of great promise.
That passion for success with honor at Penn State and beyond has defined the Schreyer Honors College since its founding.
We say we are "shaping people who shape the world." This is why Mr. Schreyer used to say that he was "bullish" on our future, because Penn Staters — our leadership, our faculty, and our students — are ready to make this world a better place.
The Graduate School at Penn State is one of the largest in the nation with more than 10,000 graduate students enrolled at the University Park and Harrisburg campuses and at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; Penn State Great Valley; College of Medicine at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Certain professional degree programs (M.Eng., M.Agr., M.Ed., etc.) are also offered off-campus and through the Penn State World Campus.
We take pride in being one of the largest graduate schools in the nation. In fact, the Graduate School has awarded 129,809 graduate degrees to date. In addition, we are proud of our exemplary faculty and high-quality degree programs, many of which are nationally ranked.
The Graduate School is committed to ensuring that all individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, or other personal characteristics are afforded the opportunity to achieve their full potential as scholars and professionals. Our international enrollment has increased to an all-time high with more than 3,132 students from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Japan, Canada, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Germany and a host of other countries. Furthermore, we are particularly proud of our efforts directed toward increasing the enrollment of underrepresented graduate students.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Pennsylvania College of Technology became an affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University in 1989, after establishing a national reputation for education supporting workforce development, first as a technical institute and later as a community college.
Division of Undergraduate Studies
The Division of Undergraduate Studies is the academic home for students exploring multiple academic programs before committing to a course of study. Academic advisers in DUS teach students how to:
- understand the purposes of higher education
- make connections between personal interests, life goals, and academic opportunities
- think critically and question common assumptions about majors and careers
- find educational opportunities such as study abroad programs, research assistantships, leadership activities, and internships
History of the Pennsylvania State University
The school was founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by act P.L. 46, No. 50 of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school's name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state's sole land-grant college. The school's name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.
George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton's honor. Additionally, Penn State's Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.
Early 20th century
In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state's largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936.Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.
In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.
In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State's alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women's Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.
In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania, and in 2003, it was credited with having the second-largest impact on the state economy of any organization, generating an economic effect of over $17 billion on a budget of $2.5 billion. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy (2003 marked the end of the Grand Destiny campaign—a seven-year effort that raised over $1.3 billion).
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the university 77th among universities worldwide and 41st nationally.
- U.S. News & World Report ranks the university's undergraduate program 50th in its 2017 American's Best College and 14th among Top Public Schools in the United States.
- In 2015, the university was also ranked 101st in the QS World University Rankings.
- A more updated 2013-2014 World University Ranking by Times Higher Education ranks Penn State as the 49th best university in the world.
- Similarly, the 2013 report by the Center for World University Rankings ranks the university as Top 50 in the world.
- According to a Wall Street Journal survey released in September 2010, the university was ranked number 1 by 479 corporate recruiting executives who were asked to identify "whose bachelor degree graduates were the best-trained and educated, and best able to succeed once hired."
Student life @the Pennsylvania State University
There are seven housing complexes located on campus for students attending the University Park campus: East Halls, North Halls, Pollock Halls, South Halls, West Halls, Eastview Terrace, and Nittany Apartments. Each complex consists of a few separate buildings that are dormitories and a commons building, which has lounges, the help desk for the complex, mailboxes for each dormitory room, a small food shop, and a cafeteria-style room. Different floors within a building may be designated as a Special Living Option (SLO). SLOs are offered to members of certain student groups (such as sororities), students studying particular majors, students who wish to engage in a particular life style (such as the alcohol-free LIFE House), or other groups who wish to pursue similar goals.
As of September 2014, 864 student organizations were recognized at the University Park campus. In addition, the university has one of the largest Greek systems in the country, with approximately 12 percent of the University Park population affiliated. Additional organizations on campus include Thespians, Blue Band, Chabad, Glee Club, Aish HaTorah, Student Programming Association (SPA), Boulevard, 3D Printer Club, and the Anime Organization, which hosts a Centre County anime convention, Setsucon.
Student media on campus includes La Vie, the university's annual student yearbook; the student-run radio station The LION 90.7 FM (WKPS-FM); Com Radio, independently programmed and operated by university undergraduates; The Daily Collegian, a student-run newspaper; Onward State, a student-run independent news website covering the Penn State community; and Phroth, a student-run humor magazine. For additional information on media related to Penn State – including Penn State Live, the official news source of the University – see the Media section below.
Penn State Live is the official news source of the university published by its public relations team. The student-run newspaper is The Daily Collegian, which is published every weekday while classes are in session. Since the summer of 1996, the traditional paper publication has been supplemented by an online edition, known as The Digital Collegian. Onward State, was founded in November 2008 by Davis Shaver, Evan Kalikow, and Eli Glazier. In addition, Penn State's newspaper readership program provides free copies of USA Today, The New York Times, as well as local and regional newspapers depending on the campus location (for example, the Centre Daily Times in University Park). This program, initiated by then-President Graham Spanier in 1997, has since been instituted on several other universities across the country.
La Vie (the Life), the university's annual student yearbook, has been in production documenting student life continuously since 1890. La Vie 1987, edited by David Beagin, won a College Gold Crown for Yearbooks award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
The student-run radio station is The LION 90.7 fm (WKPS-FM). Founded in 1995 as a replacement for Penn State's original student radio station WDFM, The LION broadcasts from the ground floor of the HUB–Robeson Center, serving the Penn State and State College communities with alternative music and talk programming, including live coverage of home Penn State football games.
In addition, the Penn State College of Communications operates ComRadio. It was founded in the spring of 2003 as an internet-based audio laboratory and co-curricular training environment for aspiring student broadcasters. ComRadio is most well known for its coverage of most major Penn State sporting events. ComRadio also airs student-produced Penn State news. Other programming includes student talk shows, political coverage, AP syndicated news and soft rock music. In recent years, ComRadio broadcasters have won numerous state awards for their on-air work. The station's sports department prides itself on the broadcasts of every home and away football game, including bowl games, and its coverage of the NFL Draft live from New York City.
Onward State is a student-run blog geared towards members of the university's community. The blog provides news, features, and event-listings. Founded in November 2008, U.S. News & World Report named the blog the "Best Alternative Media Outlet" in February 2009. Alison Go, a blogger of U.S. News & World Report organized the contest "Best Alternative Media Outlet" at the beginning of 2009. Onward State, still a fledgling organization, was surprisingly nominated. Pitted against Onward State were seasoned blogs from UC Berkeley, Vassar, Wesleyan, Columbia, Georgetown, Middlebury, Yale, and an Ivy League conglomerate. Snatching 24.76 percent of the vote, Onward State finished in first place, pleasantly surprising the Penn State bloggers. The Daily Collegian first acknowledged Onward State at the time of the blog's victory. The two Collegian articles brought greater awareness of the blog to the university's community. In an interview with The Collegian about next year's contest, Davis Shaver explained "We have big ambitions... I think that we're just going to be more established, more of a name within the Penn State community by then. There is a strong possibility of being Alternative Media repeat champions."
The student-run humor magazine is Phroth, which publishes two to four issues each year. Its roots date back to 1909 when it was called Froth. Several Froth writers and editors have gone on to win fame: Julius J. Epstein wrote the screenplay for the film Casablanca (1942) and won three Academy Awards; Jimmy Dugan wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, and The New York Times; and Ronald Bonn was a producer with NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News.
Kalliope is an undergraduate literary magazine produced by students and sponsored by the university's English Department. Kalliope includes works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. The student-run life and style magazine is Valley.
Every February, thousands of students participate in the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which has been "dubbed by supporters as the world's largest student-run philanthropy." In previous years, participants stood for 48 hours nonstop and performed a line dance at least once every hour to stay alert. In 2007, THON was moved to the Jordan Center and now lasts 46 hours. THON raises millions of dollars annually for pediatric cancer care and research, generally through the Four Diamonds Fund. In 2014, THON raised a program record of $13.3 million.
The university has the lowest percentage of students given the opportunity to purchase season in tickets in the Big Ten, and one of the lowest in the nation at just 25.25% (it should be noted that this percentage includes students at all 24 campuses statewide; the student section is approximately 50% of the students attending the University Park campus). Conversely, Ohio State University, with a student section of 29,000 tickets has seats for 57.16% of their students. Penn State students were listed number one in the "students who pack the stands" category of the 2009 Princeton Review survey. Due to a change in the way seating is assigned, beginning in 1993 tradition has been for students to camp outside of the stadium on the days leading up to important games. The campsite had been christened "Paternoville" in 2005, but was renamed to "Nittanyville" in 2012 after Paterno's retirement.
Penn State's mascot is the Nittany Lion, a representation of a type of mountain lion that once roamed what is now University Park. The school's official colors, now blue and white, were originally black and dark pink. Penn State participates in the NCAA Division I FBS and in the Big Ten Conference for most sports.
Two sports participate in different conferences: men's volleyball in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) and women's hockey in College Hockey America (CHA). The fencing teams operate as independents.
Athletic teams at Penn State have won 76 national collegiate team championships (48 NCAA, 2 consensus Division I football titles, 6 AIAW, 3 USWLA, 1 WIBC, and 4 national titles in boxing, 11 in men's soccer and one in wrestling in years prior to NCAA sponsorship).The 48 NCAA Championships ranks fifth all time in NCAA Division I, and is the most of any Big Ten school.
Since joining the Big Ten in 1991, Penn State teams have won 95 conference regular season and tournament titles.
Penn State has one of the most successful overall athletic programs in the country, as evidenced by its rankings in the NACDA Director's Cup, a list compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics that charts institutions' overall success in college sports. From the Cup's inception in the 1993–1994 season, the Nittany Lions have finished in the top 25 every year.
Despite widespread success in the overall athletic program, however, the school is best known for its football team, which draws a very large following. Penn State's Beaver Stadium has the second largest seating capacity of any stadium in the nation, with an official capacity of 106,572 slightly behind Michigan Stadium with an official capacity of 107,601. For decades, the football team was led by coach Joe Paterno. Paterno was in a close competition with Bobby Bowden, the head coach for Florida State, for the most wins ever in Division I-A (now the FBS) history. This competition effectively ended with Paterno still leading following Bowden's retirement after the 2010 Gator Bowl. In 2007, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Paterno amassed 409 victories over his career, the most in NCAA Division 1 history. Paterno died on January 22, 2012, at the age of 85.
The school's wrestling team has also become noticed. Under Cael Sanderson, the Nittany Lions won five national titles in a six year span, from 2011 to 2016.
The university opened a new Penn State All-Sports Museum in February 2002. This two-level 10,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) museum is located inside Beaver Stadium. In addition to the school funded athletics, club sports also play a major role in the University, with over 68 club sport organizations meeting regularly to date. Many club teams compete nationally in their respective sports. The Penn State Ski Team, which competes as part of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) in the Allegheny Conference, as well as the Penn State Swim Club, which competes in the American Swimming Association – University League (ASAU), are just a few examples. Some other clubs include baseball, squash, karate, crew, and sailing.
Penn State's most well known athletic cheer is "We are...Penn State." Typically, the students and cheerleaders shout, "We are," followed by a response of "Penn State" from the rest of the fans. By tradition, this is done three times, and followed by "Thank you..." "... You're welcome!"