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Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus Timeline
Year Event

1916

  • A community group, working through the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, asks Penn State to come to this area. Classes are held in what is now Coughlin High School on Washington Street. 150 students enroll in evening courses on surveying, reinforced concrete, mechanics, and advanced mathematics.

1922

  • Three-year courses are added in Mechanical, Electrical, Civil and Mining Engineering, creating the only Engineering Extension School in the region.

1947

  • Daytime classes are added to the schedule. The name is modified to the Wyoming Valley Day Technical Institute, the first of its type to be opened by the Pennsylvania State College.

1948

  • George W. Bierly is appointed administrative head of the Day School.

1950

  • Classes move to the Guthrie Building in Wilkes-Barre, now the headquarters for InterMetro Industries.

1953

  • First degree program - Penn State's first two-year program designed to lead to an associate degree in Engineering is offered at the Wilkes-Barre Center.

1957

  • The first associate-degree woman student, Immaculata Comitz of Sugar Notch, enrolls for engineering courses; Surveying Technology is added to the list of associate degree programs.

1964

  • Hayfield House, former residence of Mr. and Mrs. John N. Conyngham III, is given to the University by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Robinson to be developed into a permanent campus.

1967

  • More than 100 community leaders are on hand for the ground breaking on May 24 for a new classroom building on theHayfield property.

1968

  • Campus moves - the first classes are held on the new Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman.

1971

  • Academic program expands; the first two years of more than 100 of the baccalaureate degree majors offered by the University are now available the Wilkes-Barre Campus.

1973

  • Groundbreaking takes place for a Science Center to include an auditorium, laboratories, and much-needed classroom space.

1975

  • The Biomedical Equipment Technology program, first of its kind, is added to the curriculum.

1980

  • An associate degree in Telecommunications Technology is offered for the first time in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • George Bierly retires as director of the Campus, and the Science Center Auditorium is named in his honor.

1981

  • Dr. James H. Ryan is named Campus Executive Officer.

1982

  • A new campus-wide Academic Advising Center is opened.
  • Two-year associate degree in Business Administration is added.

1984

  • The campus Alumni Constituent Society is initiated.
  • A classroom building is converted into a permanent library.
  • An annex is added to the Commons Building to provide a food service area lounges and the Penn State Bookstore.

1985

  • Funds for the Athletics and Recreation Building are released by the Commonwealth and planning begins.

1986

  • The campus’ 70th Year celebration takes place.
  • The Campaign for the Center for Technology begins.
  • The Northern Tier campus in Towanda opens.

1987

  • For the first time, the campus offers an extended baccalaureate degree program that can be completed here: a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering Technology.

1988

  • Center for Technology construction begins in June.

1989

  • Groundbreaking for Athletics and Recreation Building is held in May.

1990

  • The Bell Center for Technology opens for classes.
  • The Friedman Observatory is dedicated.

1991

  • Dr. William A. Pearman is named campus executive officer.
  • The Wilkes-Barre campus begins celebration of its 75th anniversary year.
  • The new Athletic and Recreation Building is formally dedicated.

1994

  • Authorization to offer the baccalaureate degree in Surveying is received.

1997

  • Dr. Mary Hines is named campus executive officer.

2000

  • The campus receives authorization to offer the bachelor of science in business.

2001

  • Authorization to offer the bachelor of science in Information Science and Technology.
  • The campus offers degree programs for adults at its Kingston Center in collaboration with the Wyoming Valley West School District.
  • The campus celebrates its 85th Anniversary.

2002

  • Authorization to offer baccalaureate degree in Administration of Justice on extension from Penn State Fayette.
  • Authorization to offer baccalaureate degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences is received.

2003

  • Authorization to offer associate degree in Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology (with engineering/technology option) is received.

2004

  • The campus receives authorization to begin offering the baccalaureate degree in English.
  • The campus receives authorization to offer the baccalaureate degree in Administration of Justice.

2005

  • The campus is approved to offer the baccalaureate degree in Organizational Leadership (OLEAD), a degree program created exclusively for adult students.

2006

  • Dr. Charles Davis is named Chancellor.
  • Groundbreaking for the Abram Nesbitt III Academic Commons.

2008

  • In January, the Abram Nesbitt III Academic Commons opens. The facility includes several technology-equipped classrooms, a cyber cafe, an art gallery, the Barry auditorium, and the Nesbitt Library.
  • Work begins on the old Nesbitt Library to convert it into a Student Services Center.
  • The John Murphy Student Services Center opens in the fall. It includes the Admissions, Career Services, Financial Aid, Advising, Student Support Services, Learning Center, Counseling, and Registrar offices.

2009

  • Campus begins offering a 5-campus Business degree program, collaborating with Scranton, Hazleton, Schuylkill, and Great Valley to offer joint courses remotely to students at all five campuses using distance education technologies.

 2012

  • Groundbreaking for the Struthers Family Career Services Center.

 2013

  •  Struthers Family Career Services Center opens.