Penn State in China
The University by the 1980s was involved in more than fifty international educational programs, ranging from the College of Education's faculty and student exchange agreement with Taiwan National Normal University, to a cooperative project in business education and executive management with the University of Zimbabwe, to the interdisciplinary Australian Studies Center in the College of Liberal Arts. International research and study at Penn State had its roots in a hands-across-the-sea activity started by George Weidman Groff "Daddy" (an undergraduate nickname) Groff, a native of Annville, a devout Christian, and a 1907 graduate in horticulture, journeyed to southern China under the auspices of the Presbyterian Board of Missions soon after he received his degree. He became affiliated with the Canton Christian College, an institution founded and directed by Americans, and established a pioneer curriculum in agricultural education. He also launched a variety of research projects designed to improve the efficiency of Chinese agriculture and alleviate widespread famine in that nation. To support Groff's work, Penn State faculty and students in 1911 organized a Penn-State-in-China program, similar to the missions that at least a score of American colleges had founded or humanitarian purposes in the Far East. Financial contributions came mainly from donations made at Sunday chapel services.