The year in review, in news and images: A look back at 2017 at Penn State

As 2017 draws to a close, we review a small, representative selection of achievements and visual reflections on the year at Penn State, from among the many University-wide accomplishments in academics, research, athletics, student life and entrepreneurship.

Highlights of 2017 include:

Artist impression of gravitational waves generated by binary neutron stars

Penn State scientists contribute to gravitational wave studies


After the existence of gravitational waves was confirmed in 2016, the waves continued to be one of the top science stories in the world this year. Penn State scientists manage or help supervise some of the satellites and installations used to detect and analyze gravitational waves. They were part of at least three big gravitational wave studies this year.

Portrait of Penn State President Eric Barron in front of Old Main on April 22, 2016.

Penn State president named chair of national economic prosperity commission


Penn State President Eric J. Barron has been named chairman of the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity for the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.

Nittany Lion pointing up at football game

Nittany Lion named 2017 Mascot Hall of Fame inductee


The Nittany Lion is one of four mascots to be inducted in the Mascot Hall of Fame in an announcement made today (Nov. 6).

Penn State fundraising campaign shows strong results after first year


The first year of Penn State’s latest fundraising campaign inspired alumni and friends to commit $304.6 million to programs and needs across the University, said President Eric J. Barron in a report to the Board of Trustees today (July 21).

Zena Cardman NASA astronaut announcement

Penn State graduate student selected for NASA astronaut program


Zena Cardman, a doctoral student in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was named a member of NASA’s 2017 class of astronauts on June 7. Vice President Mike Pence joined NASA officials in introducing the 12 men and women during a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Bellisario talks at podium

Television legend Donald P. Bellisario endows College of Communications


In recognition of a $30 million gift from 1961 alumnus and television producer Donald P. Bellisario to Penn State, the Board of Trustees has named the College of Communications in his honor. The college will now be known as the "Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications."

Jennie Noll

Grant creates first national center for child maltreatment studies at Penn State


The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, recently completed a competitive process to fund for the first time ever, an academic institution to serve as a national resource for child maltreatment research and training. Penn State has been selected based on scientific merit to establish the Center for Healthy Children. The award of $7.7 million over five years will support the center as a national resource for child maltreatment research and training. To further this effort, Penn State has committed $3.4 million in funds, to total more than $11 million.

Bed Bug Micro Image

Bedbugs beware: New research may beat back bedbug epidemic


A new biopesticide developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that’s helping to push crucial discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

Team photo of title team

Lions' perfect finals run culminates with NCAA wrestling championship


The Nittany Lion wrestling team left no doubt to its dominance, rolling to a perfect 5-0 record in the 2017 NCAA Championship finals. The stunning run capped off Penn State's team title performance in St. Louis' Scottrade Center. Penn State, under the guidance of head coach Cael Sanderson, claimed its sixth NCAA team title in the last seven years, its second straight and its seventh overall.

HPV surface

Scientists get best view yet of cancer-causing virus HPV


New details of the structure of the human papillomavirus (HPV) may lead to better vaccines and HPV anti-viral medications, according to studies led by a Penn State College of Medicine researcher.


Last Updated January 18, 2018