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Preface

 

Histories of colleges and universities are frequently written to celebrate a centennialor some other milestone in the life of the institution. This history of The PennsylvaniaState University was commissioned to guide and to inform, rather than to commemorate.Charting the future is at best risky and at worst impossible without some knowledge of thepast. Before Penn State can know where it is going, or where it wants to go, it must knowwhere it has been.

This is not to say that I have written a book that is intended primarily for facultyand administrators. My aim throughout has been to present something both useful andinteresting to alumni, students and their families, citizens and taxpayers ofPennsylvania, state and local history buffs, and friends of the institution, as well as tothose persons professionally involved in higher education.

The book is longer than I had anticipated it would be when I began the research andwriting. Yet it is still hardly more than a brief survey, so rich and varied is theUniversity's past. The questions of what to include and what to leave out confronted meconstantly. I have also endeavored, without adding substantially to the narrative'slength, to place Penn State's development in a broader historical context, particularly inregard to other institutions and events within the Commonwealth.

The University administration-the sponsors of this history-in no way restricted myaccess to information. Nor was there at any time pressure exerted on me to show theinstitution or individuals connected with it in a favorable light or, conversely, to avoiddiscussing topics that might reflect unfavorably on the University.

So many people helped to make this book possible that if I attempted to acknowledgeeach of them, I would surely omit someone. Thus a collective note of appreciation mustsuffice in most cases. I do wish to extend my gratitude to Richard E. Grubb, who, asSenior Vice President for Administration, supervised the Penn State historyproject-initiated during the presidency of John W. Oswald-and was a continual source ofadvice, encouragement, and assistance. I also offer specific thanks to Leon J. Stout,curator of the Penn State Room and University archivist, who generously made available histime and expertise and read several versions of the manuscript, and to Cynthia J. Ahmannand Lark Miller of the Penn State Room staff. Robert Arbuckle, the late Milton S.Eisenhower, George T. Harrell, Kenneth Holderman, Daniel W. Hollis, Ross B. Lehman, JamesMilholland, Jr., Raymond 0. Murphy, Margaret T. Riley, Jerry Schwartz, Ronald A. Smith,William K. Ulerich, and M. Lee Upcraft read all or parts of the manuscript and madevaluable suggestions for its improvement. Sharon Becker and Polly Wilson providedsecretarial and logistical support. Finally, I am especially indebted to two former PennState deans: Nunzio J. Palladino of Engineering, without whose initiative this historymight not have been written, and Samuel H. Smith of Agriculture, who patiently allowed meto put aside other responsibilities so that I might see this book through to itscompletion.

Michael Bezilla
August 1985