History of the Pennsylvania State University

History Of The Pennsylvania State University

History of the Pennsylvania State University

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The Pennsylvania State University was founded on February 22, 1855 by act P.L.46, No.50 of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania. Centre County became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte donated 200 acres (809,000 m²) of land. In 1861, Penn State graduated its first class, marking the first graduates of a baccalaureate program at an American agricultural college. On May 1, 1862, the school's name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state's sole land grant college. In the following years, enrollment fell as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education, falling to 64 undergraduates in 1875, a year after the school's name changed once again to the Pennsylvania State College.

During this period, the college was financed by tuition and the sale of the land scrip which Pennsylvania received from the Federal government under the Morrill Act. The state did not appropriate funds for the maintenance of the college until 1887. However, the Legislature appropriated $50,000 to complete Old Main in 1860.<ref...
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