Historical Timeline

 

Ernst Behrend1855
Penn State chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. First campus located in Centre County.

March 10, 1869
Ernst R. Behrend born to Moritz and Rebecca Wolf Behrend.

Feb. 22, 1896
Ernst R. Behrend arrives in America from Coeslin, Germany.

1898
Ground broken for Hammermill Paper Company in Erie.

1907
Ernst R. Behrend marries Mary Brownell of Providence, R.I.

1927
Penn State offers graduate education courses at Central High School (now Central Tech).

Sept. 22, 1940
Ernst R. Behrend dies.

1946
Area business leaders seek to establish a Penn State center in Erie.Mary Behrend at dedication

June 28, 1948
Mary Behrend officially donates Glenhill Estate, including more than 400 acres, to Penn State, creating the Behrend Center of Pennsylvania State College.

July 13, 1948
T. Reed Ferguson appointed head of the Behrend Center.

Summer 1948
First floor of the Behrend barn made into three classrooms and three laboratories. Carriage House becomes chemistry lab; family drawing room becomes the library. Second floor of the farmhouse becomes dormitory housing for 20 women.

Fall 1948
146 students enroll; 12 full-time and part-time faculty supported by six clerical and technical staff.

First edition of the Nittany Cub, school newspaper, published.

DedicationOct. 30, 1948
Glenhill Farm dedicated as a Penn State facility.

1952

Erie Hall, the first building in the history of Penn State to be constructed with private funds, completed.

1953

First two-year associate degree programs established at the center, electrical engineering technology and drafting and design technology. These were the first two Penn State degrees that could be completed at a location other than University Park, at that time known as the State College campus.

1954

Irvin H. Kochel named administrative head of the Behrend Center.

1955

Penn State attains University status. Second year of course offerings added at the Behrend Center.

1959

Penn State establishes the Commonwealth campus system and the Behrend Center became the Behrend campus. Enrollment stands at 300.Girls in dorm

1963

Otto F. Behrend Science Building completed, built with funds willed by Ernst's brother, Otto.

1968

J. Elmer Reed Union Building completed, named after the chairman of the initial Behrend Center Planning Committee; constructed with private funds.

Behrend Center establishes Perry Hall, its first residence unit, built with University and private funds.

1969

Niagara and Lawrence residence halls completed; Edwin W. Nick Laboratory-Classroom Building dedicated; Daniel Dobbins Dining Hall built. There are 600 resident students and 600 commuting students enrolled.

1971

Behrend Center becomes the first location outside University Park with the authority to develop baccalaureate program and confer degrees locally.

1972

Enrollment stands at 1,500. Three baccalaureate majors are offered.

Jan. 20, 1973

Board of Trustees grants four-year and graduate degree status to Behrend. The Behrend campus becomes the Behrend College of the Pennsylvania State University.

1976

Mary Brownell Behrend dies.

1980

Fourteen baccalaureate degrees are offered by the college. Dr. John M. Lilley appointed dean.

1982
Enrollment reaches 1,850.

1984

Ground broken for Hammermill and Zurn Buildings.

Reed Union Building 1987

Glass-enclosed atrium added to the Reed Union Building.

The undergraduate program in plastics engineering technology launched.

Penn State Behrend Alumni Society established.

Penn State Behrend alumnus Tom Lawless hits a three-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

1989

WP$E radio goes on the air.

1990

Music at Noon: The Logan Series begins. Enrollment increases to 2,787.

1991

Kay Logan donates Mack Estate to Penn State Behrend. College lands now increase to more than 700 acres.

First Athletic Hall of Fame class inducted.

Penn State Educational Partnership (PEPP) created.

1992

College wins Distinguished Lecture Program Award for having best university speakers' program in the nation.

1993

Annual faculty research grants top $1 million for first time.

1994

100,000-square-foot Library and Academic Building opens.Lilley Library

1996

55,000-square-foot Engineering Complex completed, including Fasenmyer, Prischak, Witkowski, and Benson Buildings, Roche Hall, and Loranger Plaza.

Enrollment reaches 3,208.

Dr. Steven DeHart leads Penn State Behrend's first Study Abroad program.

1997

Logan House refurbished and dedicated.

Almy Hall, residence hall, opens.

1998

School of Business receives $20 million endowment gift, the third largest gift in Penn State's history.

1999

Ohio Hall, residence hall, opens.

Knowledge Park at Penn State Erie dedicated.

Junker Center2000

$10.2 million Athletics and Recreation Center dedicated. (The facility will be renamed the Junker Center in 2001).

Mehalso Observatory and telescope erected.

2001

Enrollment stands at 3,700.

Dr. John M. Lilley leaves Penn State Behrend. Dr. John D. "Jack" Burke named interim provost and dean effective July 1.

New baseball and softball complex opens.

Three new buildings open in Knowledge Park: a second office building, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Technology, and the Penn State Behrend Child Care Center (relocated from Station Road).

The Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel and Floyd and Juanita Smith Carillon opens, located across from the Library.

Construction begins on the Eastside Access Highway, which will run through campus and will connect the college and Knowledge Park to the Bayfront Parkway and downtown Erie. 

2002
Two existing facilities named in honor of previous Penn State Behrend administrative heads: The Irvin Kochel Center and the John M. Lilley Library.

2003

A Bachelor of Science degree in science and a Master of Project Management are added to the curriculum. The college now offers thirty majors, nineteen minors, and three graduate-degree programs.

Penn State Behrend's 725-acre campus earns official recognition as an aboretum from the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.

Dr. Jack Burke named campus executive officer and dean, succeeding Dr. John M. Lilley as the college's top official.

The Sam and Irene Black School of Business named in honor of the Blacks' $20 million estate gift for school endowments, originally announced as an anonymous gift in 1998. The Black School also achieves accreditation from AACSB International.

2004

A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in creative writing is added to the curriculum. Penn State Behrend now offers thirty-one majors, nineteen minors, and three graduate-degree programs.

The college breaks ground on the Research and Economic Development Center (REDC). Once completed, the REDC will effectively double the amount of classroom and office space at Penn State Behrend.

Senat Hall, the college's latest residence facility, opens to its first residents. 

In December, Pascale Malouin traveled from her home in Edmonton, Alberta, to Erie to take part in commencement and become the very first graduate of Penn State's online Master of Project Management (M.P.M.) program. This marked the first time she had stepped foot on the campus.

2005

In January, an asteroid is named for Dr. Roger Knacke, director of the School of Science, in recognition of his astronomical work.

The Penn State Behrend Lion statue pounces into temporary quarters on the college grounds in February.

Penn State Behrend grants first group of students SAP Certification, which gives students an edge in the job market after graduation.

At spring commencement, Penn State Behrend graduates its largest class in the college's history.

In June, the long-awaited Bayfront Connector opens, providing a direct route between Penn State Behrend and downtown Erie.

2006REDC

The college's innovative Music at Noon: The Logan Series wins the Chamber Music America/American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (CMA/ASCAP) Award for Adventurous Programming.

In May, Penn State Behrend moves its spring commencement to Tullio Arena to allow larger groups to attend.

The Research and Economic Development Center (REDC) opens for student classes, research, and studies. The facility houses the Sam and Irene Black School of Business and the School of Engineering.

Student enrollment at Penn State Behrend tops 4,000 for the first time. This is the largest incoming class in the history of the college.

An associate degree in nursing is announced. Classes will begin in fall 2007.

The Penn State Behrend Lions athletic teams win their fifth AMCC Presidents' Cup in six years. The award recognizes the best overall athletic program in the conference.

2007

Enrollment at the college reaches a record-high 4,171 students, reflecting the largest enrollment increase of any University location, including University Park.

The Samuel P. "Pat" Black III Conference Center, designed both for student and business use, opens in the REDC.

A newly approved minor, operations and supply chain management, exemplifies growing collaboration between the Black School of Business and the School of Engineering.

The region’s first confocal microscope is installed in the School of Science.

2008

60Enrollment in the college now stands at 4,633 students, a nearly 5 percent increase over 2007 figures.

The college hosts high-profile visits by presidential and vice presidential candidates and their advocates, including Democratic presidential candidate and eventual President Barack Obama.

The college kicks off celebration of its 60th anniversary year hosting a meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Robert D. and Sally Nelson Metzgar of Warren announce at $2 million gift for the creation of a new admissions and alumni center.

Susan Hirt Hagen commits and major gift to the college to create an endowment for the Center for Organizational Research and Evaluation (CORE).

The expanded archives of the college—featuring collections related to the Behrend family, Hammermill Paper Company, and Penn State Behrend—are unveiled.

2009

Ground is broken for the $4.7 million, two-story Robert and Sally Metzgar Admissions and Alumni Center.

Renovation of the Reed Union Building begins with considerable student input driving improvements to the facility.

The growth of Penn State Behrend over 60 years is captured in a group shot of faculty and staff.

A new outreach program, the Young People’s Chorus of Erie (YPC), is launched to bring children of diverse abilities and backgrounds together in song.

The college received the AMCC Presidents’ Cup for the eighth time in the award’s nine-year history.

2010

Metzgar CenterFire destroys Dobbins Dining Hall and Gazebo during the spring semester while the facility was undergoing a $7.5 million renovation. Dining service was temporarily relocated to Erie Hall, and Dobbins was back in business--and bigger and better than ever--by fall semester.

After 29 years at Penn State Behrend, Dr. John D. "Jack" Burke retires from his position as chancellor on June 30. The Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center was renamed in his honor.

Dr. Donald L. Birx begins his tenure as chancellor effective July 1, becoming the college's fifth leader.

The Robert and Sally Metzgar Admissions and Alumni Center (pictured at right) opens its doors, housing the Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, Bursar, and Alumni Relations offices.

The School of Engineering is ranked in top 50 "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs" in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and the MBA program in the Sam and Irene Black School of Business is ranked among the best in the country by both U.S. News and the Princeton Review.

The college received the AMCC Presidents’ Cup for the ninth time in the award’s ten-year history.

2011

The college confers a record-breaking 650 degrees at its spring commencement ceremony.

The Medical Plastics Center of Excellence opens to provide research and education to an industry with a nearly 10 percent annual growth rate.

Dr. Lili Zhang, head of the Research Center for Multi-Cultural Education at Beijing Normal University, is Penn State Behrend’s first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. She lives and teaches on campus for the 2011-12 academic year.

Lighter Than Air Sculpture“Lighter than Air Paper Factory,” a kinetic sculpture commissioned in the 1970s for International Paper, successor to the Behrend family’s Hammermill Paper Co., is refurbished and hung in the Clark Café (pictured at left).

The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP), a tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk teens, turns 20. Math Options for Girls, an outreach effort that introduces middle-school girls to careers in the sciences and engineering, celebrates its 15th anniversary.

The college receives the AMCC Presidents’ Cup for the tenth time in the award’s eleven-year history.