This is Penn State

This photoband contains three images: a science building on the University Park campus, a female student in the snow in front of Old Main, and a male student in a library.

Mission and Character

MISSION

Penn State is a multicampus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world, and improves the well being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.

Our instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education offered through both resident instruction and online delivery. Our educational programs are enriched by the cutting edge knowledge, diversity, and creativity of our faculty, students, and staff.

Our research, scholarship, and creative activity promote human and economic development, global understanding, and progress in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and the professions.

As Pennsylvania's land-grant university, we provide unparalleled access and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth. We engage in collaborative activities with industrial, educational, and agricultural partners here and abroad to generate, disseminate, integrate, and apply knowledge that is valuable to society.

PUBLIC CHARACTER

Penn State, founded in 1855 as an agricultural college, admitted its first class in 1859. The Pennsylvania legislature designated Penn State as the Commonwealth's sole land-grant institution in 1863, which eventually broadened the University's mission to include teaching, research, and public service in many academic disciplines. Penn State has awarded more than a half-million degrees, and has been Pennsylvania's largest source of baccalaureate degrees at least since the 1930s.

Although the University is privately chartered by the Commonwealth, it was from the outset considered an "instrumentality of the state," that is, it carries out many of the functions of a public institution and promotes the general welfare of the citizenry. The governor and other representatives of the Commonwealth have held seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees since the University's founding, and the legislature has made regular appropriations in support of the University's mission since 1887.

Today Penn State is one of four “state-related” universities (along with the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University), institutions that are not state-owned and -operated but that have the character of public universities and receive substantial state appropriations. With its administrative and research hub at the University Park campus, Penn State has twenty-three additional locations across Pennsylvania. While some of these locations, such as the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, have specialized academic roles, they all adhere to a common overall mission and set of core values and strategic goals.