Penn State New Kensington earns gold for best college from Trib readers

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. -- Penn State New Kensington was named the top local college by readers of the Valley News Dispatch, a daily newspaper published by Trib Total Media.

The New Kensington campus was selected as the gold medalist in the college/university division for the 2014 Valley News Dispatch Readers’ Choice Awards. Westmoreland County Community College took the silver medal, and the University of Pittsburgh went home with the bronze.

The Dispatch is a community newspaper serving the Alle-Kiski Valley. The Readers’ Choice supplement is an annual guide to the best local businesses in the region, as chosen by votes of readers. The newspaper’s subscription base is nearly 25,000.

“Thanks to the readers of the Valley News Dispatch and other community newspapers for voting us the gold winners,” said Patty Brady, director of enrollment management at the campus. “We are proud to be a part of the community and to serve students of this area and beyond.”

Located on state Route 780 in Upper Burrell, Pennsylvania, Penn State New Kensington is one of 24 campuses that comprise Penn State. The campus was founded in 1958 as a result of a study of the local need for higher education in the Alle-Kiski Valley. From its roots in a remodeled high school building on Fourth Avenue in New Kensington, the campus has evolved into a modern educational facility on 72 beautifully wooded acres in Upper Burrell.

Today, under the leadership of Chancellor Kevin Snider, nearly 800 students matriculate on campus and are studying in 14 bachelor's and associate programs. Students can begin studies at New Kensington in more than 160 of Penn State’s degree programs and transition to another campus to finish. It is called the "2+2 Plan," and it's the most common path to a Penn State degree. About 60 percent of students choose this path each year, and it's available for the vast majority of majors.

New Kensington’s plans for the future include adding academic programs that are grounded in the campus’ curricular strengths — math, science and liberal arts — to meet the changing needs of the region.

“We encourage you to personally visit our campus, meet with an admissions counselor and experience all that we have to offer,” Brady said. “We’re under some renovations this summer, and by fall the campus will have some newly updated labs and classrooms, outdoor lounge spaces and a new coffee bar.”

The next scheduled opportunity for prospective students to visit campus and get a taste of college life is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7. “Spend a Summer Evening” allows participants to interact with current students and take in the campus' atmosphere, as well as learn more about admissions, financial aid, and student life from campus staff and students. A campus tour and refreshments will be provided. To reserve a spot, call 724-334-LION or 888-968-PAWS.

If high school students and adult learners cannot make a scheduled event, requests for individual visits can be made by calling the same phone numbers.

For more on admissions, visit

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Last Updated July 07, 2014