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Pennsylvania State University facts for kids

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The Pennsylvania State University
Penn state old main summer
Old Main, the main administrative building of Penn State, at University Park.
Former names
 • Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania (1855–1862)
 • Agricultural College of Pennsylvania (1862–1874)
 • Pennsylvania State College (1874–1953)
Type  • Public
 • State-related
 • Land-grant
 • Space-grant
 • Multi-campus
Established 1855
Endowment $1.546 billion (systemwide)
President Eric Barron
Academic staff
6,010 (full time)
Administrative staff
41,435 (full and part time)
Students 44,817 University Park
33,977 Commonwealth Campuses
630 Dickinson School of Law
800 College of Medicine
795 Great Valley
6,290 PA College of Tech
8,524 World Campus
95,833 Total
Undergraduates 38,594 University Park
32,295 Commonwealth Campuses
6,290 PA College of Tech
4,634 World Campus
77,179 Total
Postgraduates 6,223 University Park
1,682 Commonwealth Campuses
795 Great Valley
630 Dickinson School of Law
800 College of Medicine
3,890 World Campus
14,020 Total
University Park
19 Commonwealth Campuses
5 Special-mission campuses
United States

40°47′46″N 77°51′46″W / 40.79611°N 77.86278°W / 40.79611; -77.86278
Campus University Park Campus: 5,448 acres (22 km²). TOTAL Campuses: 18,370 acres (74 km²)
Colors Dark Royal Blue
and White
Athletics  • Big Ten Conference
 • NCAA Division I
Nickname Nittany Lions
Affiliations  • Association of American Universities
 • Committee on Institutional Cooperation
 • Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association

Pennsylvania State University is a college in the state of Pennsylvania. The main campus is in the city of State College, Pennsylvania and it has branch campuses around the state. It was founded in 1855. In 1863, the Pennsylvania state legislature picked the school to be the state's only land grant college. Its purpose is to do teaching, research, and public service. It teaches undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education students both in classrooms and online.

Penn State University Park is ranked among the top-fifteen public universities in the United States. Annual enrollment at the main campus totals more than 44,000 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world's largest dues-paying alumni association.

The university's total enrollment in 2009–10 was approximately 94,300 across its 24 campuses and online through its World Campus. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses Penn State has a US$1.52 billion (as of April 30, 2010) endowment. The university's research budget was more than $765 million for the 2009-2009 fiscal year. In fiscal year 2008, the National Science Foundation ranked Penn State 11th among U.S. universities in research income.

Penn State is a school known for its football team. Penn State is a member of the Big Ten Conference.

Organization and administration

Penn State is a "state-related" university, part of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth System of Higher Education. It receives money from the Commonwealth. The state appoints 10 out of 32 people on its board of trustees. Penn State is independent and not subject to the state's direct control. For the 2006–2007 fiscal year, the university received 9.7 percent of its budget from state appropriations, the lowest of the four state-related institutions in Pennsylvania. As Pennsylvania's land grant college, the state and federal governments provide matching funds for research and cooperative extension in agriculture, home economics and related fields.

The board of trustees selects a president of the University. The president controls the university, including day-to-day management. In practice, the president gives power to other departments of the administration, to the faculty, and to the student body. Provost Rodney Erickson became interim President on November 9, 2011, after President Graham Spanier was fired.

The executive vice president and provost is the chief academic officer of the University. As of 2011, the provost is Rodney Erickson, and the Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean For Undergraduate Education is Jeremy Cohen.


Penn State's sports teams are nicknamed Nittany Lions, except for the women's basketball team, which is known as the Lady Lions. Almost all teams play in the Big Ten Conference. Two teams in sports that the Big Ten does not sponsor play elsewhere. The women's ice hockey team plays in College Hockey America and the men's volleyball team in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

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