Pennsylvania State University


The Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University seal.svg
Seal of The Pennsylvania State University
Other name
Penn State
Former name
 • Farmer's High School of Pennsylvania (1855-62)
 • Agricultural College of Pennsylvania (1862-74)
 • The Pennsylvania State College (1874-1953)
MottoMaking Life Better
TypePublic state-related land-grant flagship research university
EstablishedFebruary 22, 1855; 166 years ago (1855-02-22)
Academic affiliations
EndowmentUS$ 3.40 billion (2020)[1]
BudgetUS$ 7 billion (2020)[2]
ChairpersonMatthew W. Schuyler[3]
PresidentEric J. Barron[4]
ProvostNicholas P. Jones[5]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
 • 46,723 (University Park)
 • 39,809 (University Park)
 • 6,092 (University Park)
Location, ,
40°47′54″N 77°51′36″W / 40.79833°N 77.86000°W / 40.79833; -77.86000Coordinates: 40°47′54″N 77°51′36″W / 40.79833°N 77.86000°W / 40.79833; -77.86000
CampusRural/College town, 7,343 acres (2,972 ha)
Total (statewide), 22,484 acres (9,099 ha)[9]
NewspaperThe Daily Collegian
ColorsNittany Navy and White Out[10]
NicknameNittany Lions
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IBig Ten MAISA
MascotNittany Lion
Pennsylvania State University logo.svg
Official nameAg Hill Complex
CriteriaEvent, Architecture/Engineering
DesignatedJanuary 12, 1979[11]
Reference no.79002191
Official nameFarmers' High School
CriteriaEvent, Architecture/Engineering
DesignatedSeptember 11, 1981[12]
Reference no.81000538
Official namePennsylvania State University, The
DesignatedApril 30, 1947[13]

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania,[14] Penn State became the state's only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery.[15] In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University, Oregon State University, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, 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, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania.[16] There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state.[17] The University Park campus 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.[18][19]

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.[20] It has the world's largest dues-paying alumni association.[21] The university's total enrollment in 2015–16 was approximately 97,500 across its 24 campuses[22] and online through its World Campus.[23] The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.[24] The university's research expenditures totaled $836 million during the 2016 fiscal year.[25]

Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world's largest student-run philanthropy.[26] 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.[27] The university's athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty, and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.


Early years

Old Main c. 1855

The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855,[28] by Pennsylvania's state legislature as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania.[29] The use of "college" or "university" was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land[29] – 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.[29] The school's name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874;[29] enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely a