Penn State Wilkes-Barre
|Chancellor||Dr. Charles Davis|
|President||Eric J. Barron|
|Location||Lehman Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Colors||Navy Blue and White|
|Affiliations||Penn State University|
The Wilkes-Barre campus can trace its history to 1915 when two engineers, who were affiliated with Penn State and worked in the coal industry, released a study on the growing need for additional engineers in the region. The next year, the new Penn State Department of Engineering Extension, with faculty from University Park, began teaching night classes at an area high school on Washington Street; approximately 150 students enrolled in courses in surveying, reinforced concrete, mechanics, and advanced mathematics.
The campus began offering three-year certificates in mechanical, electrical, civil, and mining engineering by 1923; three-year courses in aeronautical and textile engineering and a two-year program in air conditioning were later added.
During World War II, the re-named Pennsylvania State College Wilkes-Barre Technical School Center trained women and older men in the manufacture of war materials in order to replace younger men leaving to serve in the war.
Until this time the school offered only evening courses in mechanical subjects; in 1947 demand from returning veterans inspired the school to introduce four daytime courses (business administration, building construction, industrial electricity, and mechanical and production tool design). These were approved by the Veterans Administration and were covered by the G.I. Bill®. Correspondingly, the school's name was changed to the Wyoming Valley Day Technical Institute.
In 1949, the Engineers' Council for Professional Development accredited the engineering courses offered by the school, and in 1953, the campus began offering its first 2-year program, an associate degree in engineering. In 1957, the associate degree in surveying technology was also approved. By 1971, the first two years of over 100 Penn State majors could be studied on the Wilkes-Barre campus, and in 1987, the campus offered its first baccalaureate degree: a B.S. in electrical engineering technology.
In 1968 the school moved from a variety of downtown Wilkes-Barre buildings to its current rural/suburban campus, a 54-acre estate in Lehman, PA, donated for that purpose by Richard and Helen Robinson and originally owned by John and Bertha Conyngham. The estate included Hayfield House, an impressive stone mansion built in the early 1930's. (Pictures of the furnished mansion were taken by well-known architectural photographer Samuel H. Gottscho in 1934; these images are held in the Gottscho-Schleisner collection at the U.S. Library of Congress.) Hayfield House was converted into administrative offices and classrooms, and the 19-car stone garage was turned into the Student Commons.
Over time additional facilities have been added to the campus, including a 5-room classroom building (1968); the Science Center (groundbreaking 1973); the Nesbitt Library, converted from the initial classroom building (1984); a Student Commons addition for food services facilities and a bookstore (1984); the Bell Atlantic/Bell of Pennsylvania Building (commonly referred to as the Center for Technology, or simply the "Tech Center") and the Friedman Observatory (1990); the Athletic and Recreation Building (1991); the Abram Nesbitt III Academic Commons, including the new Nesbitt Library (2008); the John R. Murphy Student Services Center, created from the renovation of the old Nesbitt Library (2008); and the Struthers Family Career Services Center, annexed to the Athletic and Recreation Building (2013).
The Penn State Wilkes-Barre Northern Tier Center, located in Towanda in Bradford County, was established in 1986 under the direction of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Continuing Education department. Its mission is to extend the resources of the University to Bradford and Sullivan Counties, which are largely rural areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania not readily accessible to a Penn State campus.
“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre's offerings are driven by the needs of its constituencies; the campus modifies its programs over time to best serve both traditional and adult students. At this time, Penn State Wilkes-Barre offers Bachelor's degrees in the following areas: Administration of Justice, Business, Corporate Communication, Electrical Engineering Technology, English, Information Sciences & Technology, Rehabilitation and Human Services, and Surveying Engineering. The school's four-year Surveying Engineering program remains the only one in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre students can also pursue the first two years of study leading to more than 160 degree programs, which can be completed elsewhere in the Penn State system. Numerous certification programs and professional development opportunities are also offered through the Wilkes-Barre Continuing Education department.
Penn State–Wilkes-Barre teams participate as members of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). The Nittany Lions are also a member of the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and volleyball.
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