Penn State Beaver offers the first two years of Penn State's 160+ baccalaureate programs. Students can begin their education at Beaver and move on to Penn State University Park or one of several other campuses to complete their degree. Known as the 2 + 2 Program, this option allows traditional and adult students maximum flexibility in meeting their academic and career goals.
Five baccalaureate degrees can be completed without ever leaving Penn State Beaver and three associate degrees are offered as well as a master's degree in education and a nursing completion degree. Penn State Beaver serves a diverse population of approximately 900 students, primarily from Beaver, Lawrence, Butler, Allegheny, and Washington Counties. Students from across the United States and other countries are also enrolled.
Building a Campus
Penn State Beaver opened its doors to 97 local students in the fall of 1965 when Penn State University was already 110 years old. Penn State came to Beaver County at the request of the Beaver County Board of Commissioners, which offered the old county hospital buildings and grounds in Monaca as a site for the campus.
The Penn State Board of Trustees accepted the invitation, and conversion and construction work began immediately. In addition to contributing the campus site, the Beaver County Commissioners provided funds for building renovations and construction of a new academic unit. This enabled the University to obtain matching funds from the federal government for a third building.
The late Senator James E. Ross and the late Michael Baker, Jr., president of Michael Baker Corporation and former president of the Penn State Board of Trustees, were instrumental in the planning and expansion of Penn State Beaver. Both men worked tirelessly with local and Penn State University Park officials to clear the way for the opening of the campus.
In 1968 the University purchased additional land allowing the campus to occupy 105 scenic acres in Center Township, just forty minutes northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. To provide for the steady growth in student population, several academic and student life buildings were added, including Harmony Hall residence hall, which accommodates 210 students. Other buildings were the Food Service Building (now the Brodhead Bistro), gym, Student Union Building, and Laboratory Classroom Building. Today the campus is comprised of thirteen buildings. The Penn State Beaver Adult Literacy Action program has offices located in the neighboring town of Beaver.
The Ross Administration Building is the newest building on campus. It was completed and occupied in January 2004. It features multiple offices that provide services for our students as well as faculty and staff offices. The old Administration Building, formerly the county tuberculosis hospital and the first building on campus, was razed in spring 2004 to make way for lawns, walkways, and picnic tables where the campus community can meet for class, play intramurals, or relax.
Beaver's physical plant has undergone many changes and seen great progress since 1965. An additional building was constructed and connected to the Student Union Building (SUB) and dedicated in 1994. This addition houses a 350-seat auditorium, staff and student organization offices, conference facilities, a student activity suite, the campus radio station WBVR, and the student newspaper, The Roar.
In 1998 the former dining hall underwent a $1.75 million renovation and expansion that converted the facility from a traditional-style cafeteria into the Brodhead Bistro, where a wide variety of food stations, beverages, and meal plans are available. The project also included the construction of a connecting link between the Brodhead Bistro and the SUB and a Special Events Room designed to accommodate 50 people.
In 1999 the Beaver County Commissioners provided $125,000 to establish a state-of-the-art Information Sciences and Technology studio lab, one of the first of its kind within the University's statewide locations for the new IST program. In October 2002 groundbreaking ceremonies were held to celebrate the start of construction of the new campus Administration Building now located on the hill between the gymnasium and the Student Union Building. Generous gifts of $150,000 from the Beaver County Commissioners and a $50,000 Legislative Grant were instrumental in ensuring the start of construction.
The $4.8 million Ross Administration Building was completed in January 2004 and houses a variety of faculty and staff offices, including the Chancellor's Office, Academic Affairs, Registrar, Finance and Business, Development, the Center for Academic Achievement, Health Center, Campus and Community Relations, and the Brodhead Cultural Center office. A variety of conference and meeting rooms are located in the building, along with a faculty/staff lounge and staff assistant services.
In May 2003 the campus celebrated its first baccalaureate commencement with more than 50 students in the IST and Business programs. At the same time, the campus celebrated another historic event with the conclusion of the 7-Year Grand Destiny Campaign, which raised $2.1 million in support of campus students and faculty, research, teaching, endowed scholarships, new equipment, and library holdings. Thanks to the generosity of private and corporate donors, alumni, and campus friends, Beaver exceeded its original campaign goal of $1.5 million.
Ties to the Community
Because of the close bond that has developed between Beaver campus and the Beaver County community, the entire area is increasingly enriched by the University's efforts to assist in the economic revitalization of Beaver Valley and Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The campus operates various outreach programs, including those implemented through Continuing Education, the Center for Diversity Outreach, Reach Out, Adult Literacy Action, and the Brodhead Cultural Center. These outreach efforts continue to serve thousands of diverse residents of Beaver County and surrounding communities annually.
People of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds are offered educational and cultural programming opportunities, skills training, and support to improve their personal and professional lives. The Adult Literacy Action program, with offices located in Beaver, and the Center for Diversity Outreach exemplify these efforts by providing educational and life-skills support services for youth and adults experiencing various difficulties due to personal, family, and/or professional challenges.
The Brodhead Cultural Center, which features the 750-seat J. P. Giusti Amphitheater, annually offers cultural and educational programs and benefits for the community and campus. The Cultural Center, which presented its first season of programming in 1977, celebrated its 35th summer of programming in 2011 and, over the years, has featured a wide range of concerts and theatre performed by national, regional, and local artists. Thousands of people from the tri-state area attend the Brodhead Cultural Center's summer events, which include a musical theatre production by the Center Theatre Players.
The Baker-Dungan Museum, named in honor of two of Beaver County's first settlers, is located on the hill overlooking the Cultural Center's amphitheater. Formerly a private residence, the museum now houses historical artifacts, documents, books, furniture, and photographs of Beaver County. Members of the Mill Creek Valley Historical Association have provided these materials and also provide tours of the museum, which is open to the public for one hour prior to most performances at the Cultural Center. Private tours may be scheduled by calling the Office of Campus and Community Relations, 724-773-3815.
For more information about Penn State Beaver, contact Amy M. Krebs, director of campus and community relations and the Brodhead Cultural Center, 724-773-3815.
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