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CHART: Penn State History from 1855-1955

While researching my senior thesis this spring, I came across this large-format chart of Penn State’s history in the University Archives. The conservation experts over at Cato Park took care of fixing a minor tear that had been present when we found it, plus restoring and digitizing it for easy access. I also received a to-scale print of the chart thanks to some kind folks in the Engineering Copy Center.

The chart lays out Penn State’s history from the charter for the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania in 1855 to the opening of the HUB and Nuclear Reactor in 1955, including state and federal funding/important legislation, leadership changes, enrollment, and degrees conferred. Penn State’s first century saw the emergence of a modern university through a litany of developments, including:

  • 1857 Old Main constructed; first trustees meeting on school grounds
  • 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act
  • 1870 Alumni Association’s organized
  • 1872 First woman graduated
  • 1886 Free Lance (Daily Collegian) founded
  • 1900 Alma Mater written by Fred Lewis Pattee
  • 1908 Nittany Lion adopted as symbol of Penn State
  • 1920 Homecoming established
  • 1926 Chi Omega established as first national sorority
  • 1941 Lion Shrine built by Heinz Warneke
  • 1948 Land Grant frescoes by Henry Varnum Poor completed; veteran enrollment peaks
  • 1952 Penn State Foundation established

The full 30″ wide and 96″ tall chart can be explored easily using Check it out (or download the PDF), and let me know if I missed anything that should be added to the list.

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