Looking Good at 75

Ralph Ford, Ph.D.

Ralph Ford, Ph.D.

Credit: Rob Frank/Penn State Behrend

Last July, we had a terrific opportunity to share all that Behrend has become when the University’s Board of Trustees held its summer meeting on campus and we kicked off our 75th anniversary year.

The Trustees’ visit was also an opportunity to share where we see Behrend headed—pursuing a vision defined by enhanced student success, growing academic excellence, expanded research, and increased regional impact.

In 1948, Mary Behrend officially gifted her Glenhill estate to Penn State to honor the memory of her husband, Ernst, who together with his brother, Otto, founded Hammermill Paper Company. The Behrend brothers were entrepreneurs and innovators. They were ahead of their time in embracing technology and deploying progressive business practices.

That same spirit of inventiveness and discovery is alive and well at Penn State Behrend today—and while we honor our past, it is in our DNA to look to an even better future.

In 1973, we became the first college of Penn State outside of University Park to deliver Penn State bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since then, we have had near continuous growth in enrollment, academic offerings, research and outreach activity, and philanthropy. Our numbers tell a story of impact:

  • We’re educating students in nearly 50 programs of study on our 850-acre campus and online through World Campus.
  • We’re bringing millions of dollars in sponsored research to the Erie region annually—nearly $10 million in the most recent year reported.
  • We’re collaborating with more than 500 companies and organizations through career fairs, campus visits, research and design projects, and our James R. Meehl Innovation Commons.
  • We’re leading a $26 million women’s health initiative with Magee-Womens Research Institute.
  • We’re partnering with more than 20 companies in our Knowledge Park, including the newest park occupants, Truck-Lite and Kyocera AVX.
  • We’re engaging with more than 32,000 youth and educators in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) programs each year.

Our success was not produced in a vacuum, of course. It has taken the vision, talents, and energy of a great many people—University and College leadership, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and friends. It has taken everyone working together to build the Penn State Behrend of today.

We know from Mary Behrend’s remarks at the dedication of the Behrend Center in 1948 and from her continued engagement in the years that followed that she had high hopes for our future. I believe that she would be pleased—likely, amazed—to see our growth, from our humble beginnings to the exceptional place we are today.

Chancellor Ralph Ford
[email protected]