Exhibit highlights history of student life, involvement on campus

January 27, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “We are … Involved and Engaged!” is a new exhibition on display through May 2016 in the Hintz Family Alumni Center on Penn State's University Park campus. Featuring dozens of images from the Penn State University Archives, the exhibition spotlights life as a Penn State student over the past 150 years — a brief panoply of the extracurricular activities available to students within Pennsylvania’s land-grant university.

On Feb. 16, 1859, the first class of 69 students of the Farmers High School entered the hallowed doors of an almost completely constructed Old Main. They would live, learn and work within these walls as “probably the first purely agricultural educational institution in the United States.” Over the subsequent 150 years, millions of students would follow these Penn State pioneer footsteps traveling from the depth and breadth of the Commonwealth, the nation and the world to pursue a higher education.

In 2016, Penn State would boast an enrollment of more than 97,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students. Still closely following the dictates of the 1862 Morrill (Land Grant) Act, Penn State promotes a “liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.”

This exhibition captures all aspects of student extracurricular life from 1859 through today, including social activities and clubs, philanthropy and community service, professional and honorary societies, ROTC, religious life, publications, and the most notable student activity, THON.

For additional information about the exhibit and its photographs, contact Jackie Esposito, University archivist, 122 Paterno Library, 814-863-3791.

  • black and white photo of students, Nittany Lion mascot standing outside bell tower of Old Main building

    For decades, students, occasionally with the Nittany Lion mascot, have been touring Old Main's bell tower as part of their extracurricular campus experiences.

    IMAGE: Penn State University Archives
Last Updated June 23, 2020