Penn State plans celebration for 150 years of graduate education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State is celebrating 150 years of graduate education this year and to commemorate this special anniversary, the Graduate School has planned a number of events to take place on the University Park campus from March 22 to March 24.

The first students to receive graduate degrees from the University were C. Alfred Smith and Augustus King. In 1863, each was awarded the first master’s degree, the master of scientific agriculture, having conducted a year of “special investigations” under the direction of the University’s first President, Evan Pugh.

Penn State’s 17th President Rodney A. Erickson will open the weekend Celebration of 150 Years of Graduate Education and will speak about graduate education at Penn State during a luncheon to be held in The Nittany Lion Inn on Friday, March 22. The luncheon is being hosted by the Graduate School Alumni Society to welcome alumni who are returning to campus to attend the events. Among these are panel discussions, building tours, recognition programs, and college open houses and receptions. The weekend celebration also coincides with the 28th annual Graduate Exhibition, which includes performances, and research and visual arts presentations.

The Graduate Exhibition places emphasis on communicating research and creative endeavor to the general public and challenges students to present their work in clear, comprehensible terms to people outside their fields of study. This year, more than 300 students, a record number, are participating in the event.

The Graduate Exhibition will begin with performances at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22, in Eisenhower Auditorium. Contemporary to classical music and music theatre selections will be performed by Penn State’s graduate students enrolled in the performing arts, along with snippets of Shakespeare’s plays presented by actors in the master of fine arts program.

On Sunday, March 24, more than 280 students will present their research in the Alumni and Heritage Halls at the HUB-Robeson Center and 14 students for whom creating studio work is a required part of their graduate degree program will present their works of art in the HUB Gallery. The Research and Visual Arts Presentations will be open to the public from noon to 3 p.m.

Following the presentations, a reception will be held in the Art Alley of the HUB-Robeson Center and immediately after the reception, the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in the HUB Auditorium. All of the Graduate Exhibition events are free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibition, visit


Last Updated April 29, 2013