Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

Infobox University
name =The Pennsylvania State University

motto ="We are Penn State!"
established =1855
type =Land-Grant, state-related
calendar = semester
endowment =US $1.59 billioncite web | title = All Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2007 Market Value of Endowment Assets with Percent Change Between 2006 and 2007 Endowment Assets | work =2007 NACUBO Endowment Study | publisher =National Association of College and University Business Officers | date = | url = | format = PDF | doi = | accessdate =2008-08-29]
staff =
faculty =5,495
president =Graham Spanier
students =42,914 University Park
31,632 Commonwealth Campuses
6,569 PA College of Tech
638 Dickinson School of Law
791 Hershey Medical Center
83,721 Total
undergrad =
postgrad =
doctoral =
profess =
city = State College
state = Centre County, Pennsylvania, 19 Commonwealth Campuses, and 5 Special-mission campuses
country =
campus =University Park Campus: 5,448 acres (22 km²). TOTALCampuses: 18,370 acres (74 km²)
free_label =
free =
colors =Blue and White
mascot =Nittany Lion
nickname =Penn State
athletics =formerly Atlantic 10, now Big Ten Conference
affiliations = MAISA;
footnotes =
website = []
coor =

The Pennsylvania State University (commonly known as Penn State) is a state-related, [cite web
title= PA Higher/Adult Ed.: State-Related Universities
date=03 |year=2008 |month=04 |format= |work= |publisher= Pennsylvania Department of Education
accessdate= 2008-07-06
] [ cite web
title= State-related - Education Research Guide
date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= 123explore: Language of Education - Dictionary and Research Guide
accessdate= 2008-07-06
] land-grant, space grant public research university located in State College, Pennsylvania, United States. The University has 24 campuses throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including a virtual World Campus. The enrollment at the Penn State University Park campus is 42,914 with a total enrollment of over 84,000 across its 24 campuses, placing it among the ten largest public universities in the United States. Penn State offers more than 160 majors and administers a $1.6 billion (USD) endowment.


Early years

Penn State 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 became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte donated convert|200|acre|km2|1 of land—the first of convert|10101|acre|km2|0 the University 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 Act, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state's sole land grant college. In thefollowing years, enrollment fell as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education, falling to 64 undergraduates in 1875, a year after the school's name changed once again to the Pennsylvania State College.

President Atherton

George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the school's curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation.Fact|date=February 2007 Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. Atherton is widely credited with saving Penn State from bankruptcy,Fact|date=February 2007 and is still honored today by the name of a major road in State College. 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 degreesFact|date=September 2008 and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

Rapid growth

In 1953, President Milton Eisenhower, brother of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, changed the school's name to The Pennsylvania State University, and the University developed rapidly under his successor Eric A. Walker. Under Walker's leadership (1956-1970,) the University acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled.Fact|date=September 2008 In addition, in 1967, the Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established with a US$50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

Modern era

In the 1970s, The Pennsylvania State University became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education, and is not part of the fully public Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

In recent years, Penn State's role as a leader in education in Pennsylvania has become well-defined. In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the University, and in 1997, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The University is now the largest in Pennsylvania,Fact|date=September 2008 and in 2003, it was credited with having the largest impact on the state economy of any organization, generating an economic effect of over $6 billion on a budget of US$2.5 billion.Fact|date=September 2008 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 US$1.3 billion).

Campuses and colleges

University Park

The largest of Penn State's 24 campuses, University Park, is almost entirely within the boundaries of State College borough, a site chosen to be near the geographic center of the state. With an acceptance rate of 54 percent,cite web|url=|title=College acceptance rates: How many get in?|publisher=USA Today|date=2006-11-08|accessdate=2007-01-27] it is the most selective campus in the Penn State system, due primarily to the fact that students select University Park as their first-choice campus at a far greater rate than Penn State's other undergraduate campuses.cite web|url=|title=Why is admission to University Park so competitive?|author=Undergraduate Admissions Office|publisher=Penn State University|date=2006-08-29|accessdate=2007-01-27] During the fall 2006 semester, 36,612 undergraduate students and 6,302 graduate students were enrolled at University Park.cite web|url= | title= Undergraduate and Graduate/First Professional Fall Enrollment | work=Penn State Fact Book | publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University | accessdate=2007-01-27] Of those, 45.2 percent were femalecite web|url= | title= Enrollment by Gender, Fall 2006 | work=Penn State Fact Book | publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University | accessdate=2007-01-27] and 25.5 percent were not Pennsylvania residents.cite web|url= | title= Enrollment by Residency, Fall 2006| work=Penn State Fact Book | publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University | accessdate=2007-01-27]


The University Park campus is organized into 13 distinct "colleges":cite web|url=|title=Campuses and Colleges|publisher=Penn State University|accessdate=2007-01-27] In addition, the Penn State Board of Trustees voted in January to create a School of International Affairs, with the first classes to be admitted for the fall 2008 semester.cite web|url=|title=University to establish School of International Affairs|publisher=Penn State University|date=2007-01-19|accessdate=2007-01-23] The school will be part of the Dickinson School of Law at its University Park campus location.cite web|url=|title=Penn State names inaugural director for School of International Affairs|publisher=Penn State University|date=2007-03-28|accessdate=2007-03-28]

Map depicting the locations of Penn State's 19 commonwealth campuses and the University Park campus.

Commonwealth campuses

In addition to the University Park campus, 19 campus locations throughout the state offer enrollment for undergraduate students. Over 60 percent of Penn State first-year students begin their education at a location other than University Park.Fact|date=September 2008 All of these smaller campuses offer a limited number of degree programs, but any student in good academic standing is guaranteed a spot at University Park to finish his or her degree if required or desired. Most students do complete their degree program at University Park (known as "change of assignment," since Penn State campuses are not independently operated and therefore "transferring" is an inaccurate term)."Why should you start your education at The University of Pittsburgh?" Published by the Undergraduate Admissions Office, The Pennsylvania State University. 2006.]

pecial-mission campuses

The The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1834 and is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania. It merged with Penn State in 2000. Students now have the choice of studying in either Carlisle or University Park, with classes teleconferenced between the two locations using high-tech audiovisual equipment. The school is ranked among the top 100 law schools nationally, and has produced a number of governors, members of congress, and judges. A number of high profile attorneys comprise the faculty and lead several centers and institutes devoted to specific practice areas. The school's alternative dispute resolution program is ranked among the top 10 nationally. The law school also houses the School of International Affairs.

Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies is a special mission campus offering master's degrees, master's certification, and continuing professional education. Located in Malvern, Pa., it also offers classes at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., is Penn State's medical school and teaching hospital. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has become only the ninth hospital in the United States and 16th worldwide to implant the CardioWest temporary Total Artificial HeartFact|date=September 2008 when a 60-year-old man suffering from end-stage heart failure received the device in May, 2008.

Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport, Pa., offers certificates as well as degrees in over 10 technical fields.

In 1998, the University launched Penn State World Campus, or Penn State online, which offers over 50 online education programs, degrees, and certificates. Distance education has a long history at Penn State, which was one of the first universities in the country to offer a correspondence course for remote farmers in 1892.Fact|date=September 2008 Examples of online programs include a master's in homeland security and public health preparedness, a bachelor of science in nursing, a master's in business administration, and certificates in applied statistics and economic and community development. Penn State's World Campus offers nine graduate degrees, 16 graduate certificates, 13 undergraduate degrees, and 16 undergraduate certificates. World Campus students come from 50 U.S. states, 43 countries, and seven continents.Fact|date=September 2008

Demographics and trends

Racially, the University is representative of the state of Pennsylvania, although less diverse than comparable institutions. As of fall 2006, the racial makeup of the Penn State system, including all campuses and special-mission colleges, was 80.2 percent white, 4.0 percent African-American, 5.3 percent Asian-American, 3.1 percent Hispanic-American, 0.1 percent Native American, and 7.3 percent international students.cite web|url= | title=Enrollment by Ethnicity, Fall 2006 | work=Penn State Fact Book | publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University | accessdate=2007-01-13] Over the past decade, minority enrollment as a percentage of total enrollment has risen 3.5 percent,cite web|url= | title=Historical Enrollment by Ethnic Category As a Percent of Total Enrollment | work=Penn State Fact Book | publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University | accessdate=2007-01-13] while minorities as a percentage of total teaching positions rose 2.0 percent from 1997 to 2002.cite web|url= | title=Appendix 2: Faculty Employment, by Rank, by Ethnicity, 1997/2002, All Locations | work=A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, 2004–2009 | publisher=Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity. Penn State University | date=2005-12-12 | accessdate=2007-01-13]


Penn State is a "state-related" university, part of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth System of Higher Education. As such, although it receives funding from the Commonwealth and is connected to the state through its board of trustees, it is otherwise independent and not subject to the state's direct control. For the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Penn State received 9.7 percent of its budget from state appropriations, the lowest of the four state-related institutions in Pennsylvania.cite web|url=|title=Spanier testifies for more funding|last=Horan|first=Kevin|date=2006-03-01|accessdate=2007-01-27|publisher=The Daily Collegian] Initial reports concerning the 2007-2008 fiscal year indicate that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is recommending a 1.6 percent increase in state appropriations.cite web|url=|title=Penn State to receive increased appropriations|last=Boyer|first=Lauren|date=2007-02-06|accessdate=2007-02-06|publisher=The Daily Collegian] Penn State's appropriation request, submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in September, requested a 6.8 percent increase in funding.cite web|url=|title=2007-08 Appropriation Request|accessdate=2007-02-06|publisher=University Budget Office. Penn State University]

Board of Trustees

The university is governed by the 32-member board of trustees. Its members include the president of the University, the Governor of the Commonwealth, and the state secretaries of agriculture, education, and conservation and natural resources. The other members include six trustees appointed by the Governor, nine elected by alumni, and six elected by Pennsylvania agricultural societies. Six additional trustees are elected by a board representing business and industry enterprises.cite web|url=|title=Membership Selection|publisher=Penn State Board of Trustees|accessdate=2007-01-27]

The current chair of the board of trustees is James S. Broadhurst, a 1965 graduate of Penn State and CEO of Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Inc.cite web|title=Penn State Board elects Broadhurst as chair, Garban as vice-chair|url=|publisher=Penn State Office of University Relations|date=2007-01-19|accessdate=2007-01-20]

The main responsibilities of the board are to select the president of Penn State, to determine the goals and strategic direction of the University, and to approve the annual budget.cite web|url=|title=Role of the Board of Trustees in University Governance|publisher=Penn State Board of Trustees|accessdate=2007-01-27] Regular meetings of the board are held bi-monthly and take place primarily on the University Park campus, although on occasion meetings are held at other locations within the Commonwealth.cite web|url=|title=Meeting Date|publisher=Penn State Board of Trustees|accessdate=2007-01-27]


The president of the University is selected by the board and is given the authority for actual control of the university, including day-to-day management. In practice, this responsibility is delegated by the president to other departments of the administration, to the faculty, or to the student body. The current president of the university is Graham Spanier.

The executive vice president and provost is the chief academic officer of the University. The current provost is Rodney Erickson. The Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean For Undergraduate Education is Jeremy Cohen.


According to a recent survey by "USA Today", Penn State's "flagship" campus, University Park, has the highest in-state tuition rates among comparable institutions nationwide.cite web|url=|title=USA TODAY's 2006 College Tuition & Fees Survey|date=2006-09-05|publisher=USA TODAY|accessdate=2007-02-13] While a task force formed in 2001 to study options for tuition projections determined that the University's operating efficiency is among the highest in postsecondary education,cite web|url=|title=Approval of Future Tuition Planning Recommendations|date=2002-07-11|author=Board of Trustees|publisher=Penn State University|accessdate=2007-02-13] it found that tuition increases at Penn State still consistently outpaced increases at other Big Ten Conference institutions.cite web|url=|title=Report of the Tuition Task Force|date=2002-05-10|author=Board of Trustees|publisher=Penn State University|accessdate=2007-02-13] Student leaders of The Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), one of the University's most highly-regarded student organizations has led annual rallies to lower rate hikes at each of the 19 commonwealth campuses and at the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg.cite web | url=|title=USG senators rally for lower tuition|last=Horan|first=Kevin|date=2006-03-24|publisher=The Daily Collegian|accessdate=2007-02-13] cite web | url=|title=Students request funds at Capitol|last=Pfister|first=Ryan|date=2006-03-15|publisher=The Daily Collegian|accessdate=2007-02-13] In 2005, the board of trustees proposed a tuition freeze at the undergraduate campus locations (except University Park) as part of its state appropriation request.cite web|url=|title=Penn State proposes tuition freeze at 20 campuses through 2006-07 funding request|date=2005-09-09|publisher=Penn State University|accessdate=2007-02-13]


were among the institutions accredited.cite web | url = | title = Schools Accredited in Business - ordered by country, state, name | publisher = The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business | accessdate = 2007-02-28 ]

Penn State offers an accelerated Premedical-Medical Program in cooperation with Jefferson Medical College.cite web | url = | title = Penn State's Accelerated Premedical-Medical Program | publisher = Penn State Eberly College of Science | accessdate = 2005-04-28 ] Students in the program spend two or three years at Penn State before attending medical school at Jefferson.

Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the University's graduate school, and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922. [cite web | title=About Us | url= | accessdate = 2005-11-23]


During the 2006 fiscal year, Penn State's research budget totaled US$638 million, 56 percent of which was funded by federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.Fact|date=September 2008 National Science Foundation reports indicate that in 2004 (the latest year that figures were available), Penn State ranked ninth in the country in terms of research expenditures. The University is also supported by private industry, ranking second nationwide in terms of research funding from that sector.cite web|url=|format=pdf | title=Annual Report of Research Activity, FY 2006 | publisher = Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, Penn State University | date=2007-01-08 | accessdate=2007-01-25] cite web|url= | title=Interdisciplinary strengths, economic development efforts highlight research annual report | publisher = Penn State University | date=2007-01-24 | accessdate=2007-01-25]

The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the United States Department of Defense since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State's research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.cite web|url=|title=About ARL: Who and what we are|author=Applied Research Lab|accessdate=2007-01-27|publisher=Penn State University]

The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s sprawling main campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and thereby enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university.cite web|url=|title=About MRI|author=Materials Research Institute|accessdate=2008-08-27|publisher=Penn State University] cite web|url=|title=Materials Research Institute|author=Materials Research Institute|accessdate=2008-08-27|publisher=Penn State University]

Penn State was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.cite journal
last = Pacchioli
first = David
year = 2003
month = September
title = World of Opportunity: A growing alliance aims to give University researchers global reach
journal = Research/Penn State
volume = 24
issue = 3
url =
accessdate = 2007-01-27
] cite web|url=|title=About Us|author=Worldwide Universities Network|accessdate=2007-01-27]

The Penn State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the most recent annual survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education.cite journal | title =Holdings of University Research Libraries in U.S. and Canada, 2003-4 | journal =The Chronicle of Higher Education | volume =51 | issue =37 | pages =A19 | date =2005-05-20 | id = ISSN: 0009-5982 | accessdate = ]

The University's library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main , which has grown to 4.8 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 160,000 films and videos. [cite web | title=Penn State Libraries: Statistics | url= | accessdate = 2005-11-23]

The campus is also host to a Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor.


Penn State's mascot is the Nittany Lion. The school's official colors were originally black and pink, but the baseball team's uniforms faded to dark blue and white, so the school permanently changed the colors to the now-familiar blue and white.cite web|url=|title=Traditions: The Nittany Lion|publisher=Penn State University|author=Intercollegiate Athletics|accessdate=2007-01-27] Penn State participates in the NCAA Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. A few sports participate in different conferences: men's volleyball in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA); men's lacrosse in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC); women's lacrosse in American Lacrosse conference; and hockey (American Collegiate Hockey Association). The fencing teams operate as independents.cite web|url=|title=NCAA Online Directory: Active Member Institutions|publisher=National Collegiate Athletic Association|accessdate=2007-01-27] In 2010, the men's lacrosse team will join the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). [cite web | url =| title = Penn State men's lacrosse to join CAA in 2010 | last = | first = | date = 2008-06-16 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-07-07]

Athletic teams at Penn State have won 62 national collegiate team championships (34 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). [" [ Penn State championship history] ". Penn State Athletics.] There have been another 53 national collegiate championships, by either individuals or club teams.Fact|date=September 2008 The 34 NCAA Championships ranks eighth all time in NCAA Division I, and is the most of any Big Ten school. [" [ Schools with the most NCAA championships] " NCAA.] The most recent championships were in 2007 when Women's Rugby, [cite web | url =| title = Rugby's threepeat dashed by Penn State| last =Anderson | first = Christopher | date = 2007-05-04 | publisher = "The Stanford Daily" | accessdate = 2008-09-24] Men's Gymnastics, [cite web | url =| title = National Champions! Men's gymnastics capture NCAA record 12th national championship| last = | first = | date = 2007-04-13 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-09-24] Men's/Women's Fencing, [cite web | url =| title = Fencing team captures 10th NCAA championship| last = | first = | date = 2007-03-25 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-09-24] Women's Volleyball,cite web | url =| title = No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball captures second NCAA Championship | last = | first = | date = 2007-12-15 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-04-10] and Men's Volleyball in 2008 all won their respective national titles. [cite web | url =| title = Penn State men's volleyball team wins first national title in 14 years | last =AP | first = | date = 2008-05-03 | publisher = ESPN | accessdate = 2008-09-24]

Since joining the Big Ten in 1991, Penn State teams have won 44 regular season conference titles and 10 tournament titles, including ten consecutive titles in women's soccer (tied for the longest title streak in Big Ten history). [ [ Penn State women's soccer wins 10th straight Big Ten title] ]

Penn State has one of the most successful overall athletic programs in the country, as evidenced by the University's top 25 finish in the NACDA Director's Cup every year since the ranking's inception 15 years ago. [ Nittany Lions No. 9 in final 2007-08 Director's Cup standings] ] The Director's Cup is a list compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics that charts institutions' overall success in college sports. In the history of the Directors’ Cup, the Nittany Lions have finished in the top 10 eight times and the top five four times. In 1999, "Sporting News" named Penn State as the country's best overall athletic program, citing its consistent and wide-ranging athletic successes along with its athletes' long-standing tradition of excelling in the classroom. Penn State placed 6th in "Sports Illustrated"'s top 25 rankings for athletic success for the 2007-08 academic year, the highest of any Big Ten school. [cite web | url =| title = SI's top 25 rankings for the 2007-08 college sports year | last = | first = | date = 2008-07-16 | publisher = "Sports Illustrated" | accessdate = 2008-07-18] [cite web | url =| title = Nittany Lions No. 6 in SI's rankings of 2007-08 athletic success | last = | first = | date = 2008-07-18 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-07-18]

Penn State student-athletes receive academic honors that often far exceed those awarded to other Division 1-A schools. In the 2007-08 academic year, a school record 261 Penn State Student-Athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. Penn State leads the Big Ten with 3,069 selections. [cite web | url =| title = School Record 261 student-athletes earn Academic All-Big Ten honors| last = | first = | date = 2008-05-28 | publisher = Penn State Athletics | accessdate = 2008-07-10]

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 largest seating capacity (over 107,282) of any stadium in the nation, [cite web | url =| title = Beaver to rule arenas | last =Fortuna | first = Matt | date = 2008-03-17 | publisher = "The Daily Collegian" | accessdate = 2008-09-24] slightly ahead of Michigan Stadium, whose seating capacity was reduced following litigation regarding the number of handicapped seats in the stadium. The football team is led by legendary coach Joe Paterno, who at 81 is in his 43rd year as head coach (as of the 2008 season). Joe Paterno is in a constant race with Bobby Bowden, the head coach for Florida State, for the most wins ever in Division I-A (now the FBS) history. Currently, he has around 376 total career wins.Fact|date=September 2008 He was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The University opened a new Penn State All-Sports Museum in February 2002. This two-level convert|10000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on museum is located inside Beaver Stadium.cite web | - Official Home of Penn State Athletics | url= | accessdate = 2008-07-12] During Penn State home football games, State College becomes the third most populous city in Pennsylvania, surpassed only by Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.Fact|date=July 2008

In addition to the school funded athletics, club sports also play a major role in the University, with over 64 club sport organizations meeting regularly to date. One such team is the Penn State Ski Team, which competes as part of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) in the Allegheny Conference. 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. This is typically done three or four times, and followed by "Thank you..." "... you're welcome!" when completed. The cheer is by no means restricted to sporting events; for instance, groups of potential students walking around campus are often subjected to chants of the cheer, which they are to answer.

tudent life

The University's fight song is "Fight On, State," and other notable songs performed at public celebrations include the Penn State Alma Mater, "Hail to the Lion" and "Lion Roar."


Penn State has exhibited consistent positive trends in efforts to promote a diverse and multicultural campus, most notably beginning in 1990 with the creation of a position for a vice provost for educational equity and the adoption of a five-year strategic plan to "create an environment characterized by equal access and respected participation for all groups and individuals irrespective of cultural differences."cite web | url= | title=Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity | publisher=Penn State University | accessdate=2007-02-13 ] cite web | url= | title=Campus Climate and Intergroup Relations | work=A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, 2004–2009 | author = Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity | publisher = Penn State University | date=2005-12-12 | accessdate=2007-02-13]

Despite these efforts, criticism of the University's treatment of sensitive issues involving race and sexuality remain. During the spring of 2001, in response to racially-based death threats received by several African-American students,cite web | url = | title = University, students respond to threats | last = Grote | first = Danielle | date = 2002-04-29 | publisher = The Daily Collegian | accessdate = 2007-02-13] several hundred students occupied the Hetzel Union Building in protest of insufficient efforts by University officials to promote diversity.cite web | url = | title = Standoff continues at the HUB | last = Cooke | first = Jeremy R.| date = 2002-04-26 | publisher = The Daily Collegian | accessdate = 2007-02-13] After a week of negotiations and demonstrations, an agreement was reached. The result was the establishment of an Africana Studies Research Center and an investigation into the existing "Intercultural/International Competence" requirement for all students.cite web | url = | title = Protesters, administrators reach agreement | last = Hymowitz | first = Matt| date = 2002-05-03 | publisher = The Daily Collegian | accessdate = 2007-02-13] cite web | url = | title = A Brief History of Diversity in the General Education Curriculum | last = Moore | first = John| date = 2005-10-14 | work = Best Practices in Diversity: Strategic Planning Workshop | publisher = Penn State University | accessdate = 2007-02-13]

More recently, administrators and the athletic department were criticized for their handling of a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by former Lady Lions basketball player Jen Harris, alleging that head coach Rene Portland dismissed her from the team in part due to her sexual orientation. While Penn State and the National Center for Lesbian Rights jointly issued a statement describing the settlement as "amicable" to all parties,cite web | url = | title = Harris claim settled | publisher = Penn State University | date = 2007-02-05 | accessdate = 2007-02-13] members of the Penn State community protested that the settlement did not represent progress on the part of the University toward a more tolerant campus climate.cite web | url = | title = Activists protest diversity policies | author = McGill, Andrew and Owens, Alyssa | date = 2007-02-12 | publisher = The Daily Collegian | accessdate = 2007-02-13]

Respect Comes Full Circle is the University-wide campaign to address diversity issues on each campus, created by Penn State University Publications. [ [ Respect Comes Full Circle] ]

Residence Life

tudent organizations

As of May 15, 2007, 667 student organizations were recognized at the University Park campus.cite web | title=Index of Student Organizations at Penn State | url= | accessdate=2007-02-11 | author=Division of Student Affairs | publisher = Penn State University ] In addition, Penn State has one of the largest Greek systems in the country, with approximately 12 percent of the University Park population affiliated.cite web | title= Greek Pride initiative seeks a return to glory for fraternities, sororities | url= | date=2005-01-21|accessdate=2007-02-06 | publisher=Penn State University ]

The Penn State Glee Club, founded in 1888, is the oldest student organization on campus, and has reached a broad audience with their annual spring break tour, which has led them to many destinations around the globe. Another organization rich in history is the Penn State Thespians, who have performed theatre at University Park since 1898, and are the oldest continuously-active student-run organization on campus (the Glee Club having been temporarily suspended during the Second World War). Additionally, the Penn State Blue Band, founded in 1899, performs during halftime at football games and at other university functions, and was honored with the Sudler Trophy in 2005. The Trophy, which has been presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation since 1982, is regarded as the nation's highest accolade for collegiate bands.

Penn State is also home to the Paranormal Research Society (PRS), which has earned national media attention over the past few years. The A&E Network recently announced that it is developing a national reality series with the group and University, entitled Paranormal State. Parts of the series will be filmed on campus.


The student-run newspaper is "The Daily Collegian". Since the summer of 1996, the traditional paper publication has been supplemented by an online edition, known as "The Digital Collegian". In addition, Penn State's newspaper readership program provides free copies of USA Today, the New York Times and as of fall 2009, The Wall Street Journal, 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 President Graham Spanier in 1997,cite web | url = | title = Newspaper Readership Program | publisher = Penn State University | accessdate = 2007-02-11] has since been modeled by nearly 400 other universities across the country.cite web | url = | title = Collegiate Readership Program: Program Overview | publisher = USA Today | accessdate = 2007-02-11]

The student-run organization for yearbooks is named "La Vie". "La Vie 1987" won the highest recognition given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association [] to a student print or online medium for overall excellence, the Gold Crown Award. The "La Vie 1987" editor-in-chief was David Beagin.

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. The LION's signal can be heard in the greater State College area at 90.7 FM and anywhere in the world via its live 24/7 webstream at [] . The LION's programming grid can be found at [] . Among the station's most popular shows is its long-running public affairs program, Radio Free Penn State, hosted by Andy Nagypal, which airs weekdays from 5-6pm Eastern.

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.

The student-run humor magazine is "Phroth".

IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon

Every February, thousands of students participate in the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON), the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. 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 Bryce 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 2008, THON raised more than US$6.6 million.

Due to Hershey High School's affiliation with Penn State Medical Center, a 12-hour dance marathon is held annually in the Hershey High School Cafeteria and Gymnasium. The dance is organized by the Hershey High School Key Club along with the Four Diamonds Fund, and thousands of Penn State Students

Former traditions

* Phi Psi 500The Phi Psi 500, organized in the 1970s by undergraduates in the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, was a raucous fundraising event popular among students. Contestants entered either individually or in theme-related groups and had to run a convert|1.1|mi|km|1|sing=on course through downtown State College. During the run, contestants had to make a half-dozen stops at taverns for beer or soft drinks.

Revenue generated through entry fees and donations went to local charities. The Phi Psi 500 brought a large number of alumni visitors as well as resident spectators and student participants. Over US$21,000 was raised by 1,800 runners in the 14th running in April 1983. [cite web | title=Penn State: An Illustrated History. | publisher=Penn State Libraries | author=Michael Bezilla | url=]

The Phi Psi 500 was outlawed by University officials in the early 1980s. Today, the Phi Psi 500 is still a large philanthropic event orchestrated by an "underground" group of current students. Fact|date=March 2007

*Sy Barash RegattaAnother popular fundraiser that sprung up in the 1970s was the Sy Barash Regatta. Sy Barash was a prominent State College businessman and civic leader who died of cancer in 1974. The regatta named in his honor began a year later, with proceeds going to cancer research.

Beta Sigma Beta fraternity, of which Barash had been a member, sponsored the regatta first held at Stone Valley until 1983. Eventually, the regatta witnessed more than 15,000 visitors. By the mid 1980s, the popularity of the multi-faceted event forced its move to Bald Eagle State Park.

Aside from the nautical competition, the regatta offered picnics, music and other leisure activities. By the end of its first decade, the Sy Barash Regatta has raised more than US$100,000 for the Centre County chapter of the American Cancer Society.
*Gentle ThursdayCo-sponsored by The Free University, Gentle Thursday was a popular social event that occurred each spring. Proclaimed as a "day of sharing," students were encouraged to show concern for one another and forgo academic and campus political concerns. Crowds of students on the lawns of the Hetzel Union Building and Old Main enjoyed live music, food, friends and films.

Gentle Thursday eventually became a day of over-indulgence, highlighted by many drug- and alcohol-related incidents. These incidents and general truancy caused in area secondary schools led to Gentle Thursday's death in 1980.

Football and Student Life

The student section at Beaver Stadium achieved a sellout of more than 22,000 season tickets in a remarkable 59 minutes for the 2007 season. The unprecedented sale took place in record time, according to Bud Meredith, Director of Ticket Operations. The previous record was 13 days in 2006, using a combination of online sales and applications that were mailed to the ticket office.

The 22,000+ student section is the largest concentrated student section in the nation. However, Penn State 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%. Conversely, Ohio State University, with a student section of 29,000 tickets (in a smaller stadium nonetheless) has seats for 57.16% of their students. [ [ ] ] Penn State has approximately 90,000 season ticket holders overall, also among the largest in the nation.

The passionate, loyal and enthusiastic Penn State student section is a primary reason Beaver Stadium is one of the nation’s toughest venues for opposing teams. The Nittany Lions averaged 107,567 fans at home last season, second-highest in the nation, topped only by 110,007 for the prime time clash with Michigan. Recently, tradition has become for students to camp outside of the stadium on the days leading up to important games, lovingly calling the campsite "Paternoville". Once in the stadium for these important games students wear white for the "white out" effect.

A recent attempt to move to a lottery format for student season tickets was met with opposition that many believed was the most swift and comprehensive response to school policy in decades. A student rally ensued on the steps of Old Main to celebrate the reversal of the lottery to the previous "first-come, first-served" procedure. The sale was instead changed from a mail-in form to an online format at Ticketmaster, which handles large-demand, high-profile, online tickets sales on a daily basis.

Alumni and notable people

Established in 1870, nine years after Penn State's first commencement exercises, the Penn State Alumni Association has the stated mission "to connect alumni to the University and to each other, provide valuable benefits to members and support the University's mission of teaching, research and service."cite web|title=About the Penn State Alumni Association|url=|accessdate=2007-01-23|publisher=Penn State Alumni Association] The Alumni Association supports a number of educational and extracurricular missions of Penn State through financial support and is the network that connects alumni through over 280 "alumni groups," many of which are designated based on geographical, academic, or professional affiliation.cite web|title=Alumni Groups | url=|accessdate=2007-01-23|publisher=Penn State Alumni Association]

As of 2006, the Alumni Association counts 453,346 members within the United States, with an additional 6,277 in countries around the globe. About half the United States alumni reside in Pennsylvania, primarily in the urban areas of Philadelphia (and the surrounding counties), the Pittsburgh Area and in the Centre County region surrounding State College, although alumni can be found in almost every region of the country and abroad. About 34 percent of United States alumni and 21 percent of international alumni are members of the Alumni Association.cite web|title=Alumni and Membership Snapshot | publisher=Penn State Alumni Association | accessdate=2007-01-23 | url= | work=Alumni Volunteer Update: September 2006] cite web|title=Penn State Alumni: Geographic Distribution and Membership Penetration Rates | url= | type=pdf | publisher=Penn State Alumni Association | accessdate=2007-01-23 ] With membership totaling 154,688, the Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world, a distinction it has held since 1995.cite web|title=History of the Penn State Alumni Association|url=|accessdate=2007-01-23|publisher=Penn State Alumni Association]

Since 2001, Penn State, along with all schools in the Big Ten, has participated in the "Big Ten Challenge" website, which is a "competitive" clearinghouse of alumni donation statistics for member schools. Results are tracked to determine a percentage of each school's alumni from the previous decade who gave to their alma mater each calendar year (for example, during the 2005-2006 year, alumni donations from 1996 to 2005 were tallied). With the exception of 2005-2006, when Penn State fell to second behind Northwestern University,cite web|url= | title=2005-2006 Year-End Results | publisher=Big Ten GOLD Challenge|accessdate=2007-02-27] Penn State has won the challenge each year since its inception.cite web|url= | title=2004-2005 Year-End Results | publisher=Big Ten GOLD Challenge|accessdate=2007-02-27] cite web|url= | title=2003-2004 Year-End Results | publisher=Big Ten GOLD Challenge|accessdate=2007-02-27] cite web|url= | title=2002-2003 Year-End Results | publisher=Big Ten GOLD Challenge|accessdate=2007-02-27] cite web|url= | title=2001-2002 Year-End Results | publisher=Big Ten GOLD Challenge|accessdate=2007-02-27]

Points of interest

* The Arboretum at Penn State
* The Lion Shrine
* Penn State University Creamery
* Beaver Stadium
* Bryce Jordan Center


* [ Short History of Penn State]
* [ An Illustrated History of Penn State]
* [ Official Statistics and Common Data]

External links

* [ The Pennsylvania State University official website]
* [ Penn State athletics official website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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