Penn State University, State College

#1 of 22 in Things to do in State College
Must see · Educational Site · Tourist Spot
Penn State, founded in 1855 as an agricultural college, admitted its first class in 1859. The Pennsylvania legislature designated Penn State as the Commonwealth’s sole land-grant institution in 1863, which eventually broadened the University’s mission to include teaching, research, and public service in many academic disciplines. Penn State has awarded more than a half-million degrees, and has been Pennsylvania’s largest source of baccalaureate degrees at least since the 1930s.

Although the University is privately chartered by the Commonwealth, it was from the outset considered an “instrumentality of the state,” that is, it carries out many of the functions of a public institution and promotes the general welfare of the citizenry. The Governor and other representatives of the Commonwealth have held seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees since the University’s founding, and the legislature has made regular appropriations in support of the University’s mission since 1887.

Today Penn State is one of four “state-related” universities (along with the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University), institutions that are not state-owned and -operated but that have the character of public universities and receive substantial state appropriations. With its administrative and research hub at the University Park campus, Penn State has 23 additional locations across Pennsylvania. While some of these locations, such as the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, have specialized academic roles, they all adhere to a common overall mission and set of core values and strategic goals.
Plan your Penn State University visit and explore what else you can see and do in State College using our State College driving holiday planner.
Create an itinerary including Penn State University
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Penn State University reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
619 reviews
  • P.S.U was one of the happiest days of my life. It is out in the open near mountains. Wish I would have had time to go on nature walks. However, I spent some days walking 3 hours to classes. The...  more »
  • If you visit just one thing at Penn State, make it the Nittany Lion! The Nittany Lion Inn is beautiful also, but currently being utilized to house students.  more »
  • No trip back to Dear Old State is complete without a stroll through the Palmer Museum. It is always great, including the gift shop. If Zoller Gallery is open, we stop there also.
  • I am a student of Penn state and just to let anyone know Penn state is a great school and our PSU pride is what keep this school together it is the thousands of students who made this school so one man and couple other people cannot break us down. Also it is a beautiful campus and the rotc programs are always awesome to watch I am in it and it is quite an experience WE ARE.....PENN STATE

Plan your trip to State College

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.