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University accepts invitation to join Big Ten Conference.

President Bryce Jordan retires August 31. Joab Thomas named Penn State’s 15th President effective September 1.

Campaign for Penn State concludes June 30 having raised $352 million.

College of Science renamed Eberly College of Science to recognize the contributions of the Eberly Family.

College of Business Administration renamed Smeal College of Business Administration to recognize the contributions of Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal.

Research Park (1st phase) begins construction. Beaver Stadium expanded by 10,300 seats.

Heart-assist pump designated International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Penn State named NASA Space Grant College.

National College Databank ranks Penn State 2nd in nation in number of undergraduate admission applications.


John A. Brighton named Executive Vice President and Provost effective July 1. Robert Dunham named Commonwealth Education System Vice President and Dean effective October 1.

Campaign launched to raise private funds for the Academic/Athletic Convocation and Events (Jordan) Center.

Leonhard Center for Innovation and Enhancement of Engineering Education and Agricultural Science and Industries Building dedicated.


Freshman retention initiative, “Be a Master Student,” touted as model program.

International student health insurance requirement established.

Breazeale Reactor named Nuclear Reactor Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.

Commission for Women and President Thomas release report advocating a series of recommendations dealing with gender equity in intercollegiate athletics at Penn State.


Alumni Association forms an alumni interest group with African/Black American alumni.

Hershey Biomedical Facility, Mateer Building, Research Park and expanded Palmer Museum of Art dedicated.

Million Dollar Faculty/Staff Challenge Grant issued by William & Joan Schreyer to enhance the campaign fund-raising for the University Libraries expansion is surpassed.

NASA names France Cordova, professor and head, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, named chief scientist.


Tim Curley named University athletic director. Carol Herrmann named Senior Vice President for Administration.

University and AT&T form “far-ranging” alliance to “become a leading center of telecommunications.”

OASIS, Open Access to Student Information System, allows easier student access to class schedules, transcripts, and grades.

Penn State Conference Center, “largest university-based conference center in the United States” dedicated. New Library addition named in honor of Sue and Joe Paterno.

All-University conference to highlight achievements of drug and alcohol prevention.

Committee and eligibility guidelines established for Honorary Degree awards.

Penn State leads nation in number of alumni who donate.


Graham B. Spanier named 16th president of University effective September 1, succeeding the retiring Joab Thomas.

Penn State Beaver, McKeesport and New Kensington campuses entered into a new alliance – the Greater Pittsburgh Commonwealth Educational System Region for Continuing Education.

“LionHawk” collaborative partnership between Penn State and University of Iowa “gives students with an associate degree from one institution automatic admission into the baccalaureate degree program at another.”

GURU, General University Reference Utility, intended to be “a one-stop electronic shopping place for University employees who are trying to locate information about Penn State policies and procedures” established.


Bryce Jordan Academic and Athletic Convocation Center dedicated. University Park airport expansion underway. HUB to stay open 24 hours a day.

Henry McDonald, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, named head of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

Marsh White, Penn State’s first Ph.D. recipient, turns 100.

Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel named national historic mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

U.S. President William J. Clinton addresses Graduate School Commencement, May 10.

State College Borough celebrates its centennial.

Jillian Robbins opens fire near HUB killing Melanie Spalla on September 17.

University helping to build Internet2.


Geisinger Health System and Hershey Medical Center merge.

Reorganization of Commonwealth Education System approved by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education.

University’s World Campus established.

Penn State merges with Dickinson Law School. Schreyer Honors College established.

University Budget is now available on World Wide Web. Differential tuition plan adopted.

Hobby-Eberly Telescope dedicated.

Newspaper Readership program and The Forum, a weekly, student-run online news source established.


Penn State inventions yield first $1 million year.

James Pawelczyk, assistant professor of applied physiology, first Penn State faculty member to fly on a shuttle (Space Shuttle Columbia 17-day) mission.

Enrollment tops 80,000 system wide.

School of Information Sciences and Technology created.

Penn State Erie celebrates 50th anniversary.


Rodney Erickson appointed Executive Vice President and Provost effective July 1999.

Teaching and Learning Consortium established.

Partnership with Centre Area Transportation Authority to provide free campus bus service.

Centre County and Penn State Visitor Center site dedicated.

Shaver’s Creek Dam upgrade started.

Preparations for Y2K, Year 2000, computer conversions undertaken.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations program started.

University teams up with IBM on e-business initiative.

Hershey-Geisinger merger dissolved.

Grand Destiny Campaign publicly kicks off with $1 billion goal in private support