New Kensington’s 55th commencement set for Saturday

Graduates will receive baccalaureate and associate degrees at Penn State New Kensington's 55th commencement exercises at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 10, in the campus Athletics Center.

Chancellor Kevin Snider will confer undergraduate degrees to candidates. Former campus student Suzette Shaffer Schultz, senior project manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, is scheduled to deliver the commencement address. Tim Oberlin, president of the Alle-Kiski Society, will induct the new Penn Staters into the Penn State Alumni Association.

The class of 2014 is the 55th graduating class at the New Kensington campus. What began in 1960 with 28 men earning associate degrees has evolved into 76 men and women receiving bachelor's and associate degrees. Since that inaugural class, nearly 11,000 alumni have attended Penn State New Kensington and have earned a Penn State degree.

The campus was born in 1958 as the New Kensington Center, which opened in the First Ward School Building in the heart of the city of New Kensington with 79 students enrolled in the electrical and mechanical engineering associate degree programs. In 1963, the center moved to the former Parnassus Junior High School and began offering the first two years of baccalaureate programs in education, liberal arts, business administration and human development. In the same year, Alcoa offered to give the University a 35-acre tract of land in Upper Burrell Township, 4 miles east of the city. Three years later, the current campus was born and classes convened in the Engineering Building. Today, more than 700 students matriculate on campus and are studying in 14 associate and bachelor's programs.

As the campus and student body evolved, the mission of Penn State New Kensington also has evolved. The campus was founded as a response to a local need for higher education opportunities in the Alle-Kiski Valley, and it remains committed to fulfilling that responsibility. But the campus also plays an important role in the development of the region and actively promotes partnerships with local and national businesses. With the establishment of programs such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and WEDIG (Westmoreland Economic and Development Initiative for Growth), the campus seeks to bridge the gap between education and industry.

The campus continues to evolve as it is firmly ensconced in its sixth decade of service to the citizens of the Alle-Kiski Valley. It is relentless in expanding course offerings to meet industry’s changing needs. This greatly enhances Penn State’s historic mission of teaching, research and service. The campus boasts nine bachelor’s degree programs -- Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology ; Bachelor of Science in Psychology; Bachelor of Science in Business; Bachelor of Arts in Communications; Bachelor of Science in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology; Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology; Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership -- and five associate degree programs -- Biomedical Engineering Technology; Business Administration; Information Sciences and Technology; Letters, Arts, and Sciences; Radiological Sciences.

The physical plant of the campus comprises 10 buildings, including the multi-purpose Conference Center, 350-seat Forum Theatre and 600-seat Athletics Center. The Art Gallery, which is a part of the Administration Building, is the venue for monthly exhibits by local and regional artists. Bud Gibbons, professor of visual arts and art gallery director, is exhibiting his works, “Unfinished Paintings,” during May.

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Last Updated May 07, 2014