Penn State Brandywine celebrates 45 years at Community Day

April 20, 2012

In the fall of 1967, Penn State Brandywine, then known as the Penn State Delaware Campus, opened its doors in Chester underneath a roller skating rink. John D. Vairo, professor of journalism at Penn State, was charged with building this new campus from the ground up, literally. A man remembered for his vision, leadership and wisdom, Vairo paved the way for a prosperous future.

As Penn State Brandywine officially celebrates its 45th year at Middletown Township Community Day on May 12, the campus is not just looking forward to the future, but honoring its humble roots and legendary founder, who died in January.

Now located on Yearsley Mill Road and Route 352 in Middletown Township on more than 90 beautiful acres, this campus was once a converted fish market with no doorknobs in Chester. After the big move in 1970, the campus continued to grow -- first came the Main Building, then the Library, later named the John D. Vairo Library, followed by the Commons Building and, finally, the Tomezsko Classroom Building, named for Vairo’s successor, Edward Tomezsko.

Penn State Brandywine, now led by Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, has for many years offered four-year degrees, championship-winning intercollegiate sports, honors programs, civic engagement and undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad programs and a variety of clubs and organizations. The award-winning faculty, dedicated students and hard-working staff together uphold Vairo’s vision. Even after much growth and change over forty-five years, Brandywine remained a source of pride for its founder.

The campus recently added to its portfolio degree programs in general engineering, psychology and philosophy, as well as an accelerated postbaccalaureate medical sciences certificate and a 20-month bachelor of science in business program for working adults. With the establishment of the Laboratory for Civic Engagement and the Brandywine Child Development Lab, the campus continues to flourish and remains a vital member of the Middletown Township community.

A number of groups on campus are scheduled to host fun activities for all ages during Community Day. Students and alums from the Education Club and Brandywine Child Development Lab will play games and offer face painting, and have invited a guitarist to play music for the youngsters. The campus’ student volunteer group, Penn State M.A.D.E. (Making A Difference Everyday), will help the nonprofit organization Cradles to Crayons with a number of activities throughout the day, and a group of students on a mission to make the campus a Fair Trade University, known as the Fair Trade Trailblazers, will be on hand throughout the day as well.

The campus will distribute copies of its annual magazine, "Brandywine Pride," which was dedicated to John Vairo, and there will be a cake in honor of Penn State Brandywine’s 45th birthday.

The campus community is excited about its future. To learn about the campus’ Master Plan, visit online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 23, 2012